Saturday, September 09, 2017

Blame the Sock

Monday night was Knit Night. It was also Labor Day so I was off work. I couldn't seem to get it together enough to get ready earlier in the day but I was getting ready to go and I knew I wanted to bring my Skew socks to work on since they were at a fairly easy part (done with the heel and decreases and ready to begin the short rows for the leg). That also means that I might be able to finish them at Knit Night so I wanted to bring something else, My purse sock just didn't seem to be enough. But I also wanted to get going and I didn't want to take the time to wind yarn so I just tossed some that was wound in my knitting bag and off I went.
Interesting story though. Our Knit Nights are a fixed date but not day. So, the 4th of each month we meet at our Caribou, regardless of the day of the week. The 19th we meet at our local Panera, regardless of the day of the week. That way, even if you have something every week on a certain day, sometimes you can make it to knit night. They two don't fall on the same day of the week in a month either. It seems to work well for us. 
Anyway, we meet at Caribou at 6:30. Only this time we were early. Probably 7 of us were there by 6 and were knitting and chatting (as we do) in the conference room that we reserve for a fee. At 7:05 they come in and tell us they're closed. Normally Caribou is open until 10 and 11 on weekends so it had to be due to the holiday right? But there were no signs or indications that they closed at 7 and there were lots of people in the main area too. So why did they close so early? And it pretty much isn't right for them to charge us the room rental fee for an hour when we wanted it for several hours. Shady! A few of us decided we didn't want to quit knitting though so we went down the road to Starbucks and kept on knitting. 
At least that way I made some progress.
I did finish the Skew socks, aren't they pretty? There's just something about this pattern. It's addictive. I can (and have) knit it over and over. As a matter of fact, this is the first time in months I haven't had a pair on the needles and I am feeling the pull to cast on some more. 
In the meantime, look how pretty they are! I love the heels when they're on my feet but they don't look like much laid flat do they? These are knit from Knitterly Things Vesper in Bride of Socktober Spooktacular. This is the merino Nylon base that's a little thicker so it's easier for me to knit this pattern on larger needles than I knit her other bases. On her 100% Superwash Merino yarn that's really fine, I knit on 0s. I haven't actually knit with the Merino Nylon that's thinner yet but it's similar to the 100% Superwash Merino in thickness so I will knit it on 0s too probably. (I haven't knit it yet but I have several skeins in the stash already.) I knit this pattern on 2s since the slanted knitting fits more snug than straight knitting because of the bias. So what yarn did I throw into my knitting bag before I left?
A couple of skeins that are kind of the polar opposite of the Vesper yarn. Rustic, more sheepish and toned-down colors. There's something pretty compelling about their tweedy nature though.
I finished the gusset decreases on the first sock today. It's flying by! That may also be why my house is a wreck, I spent way more time knitting than tidying this week. 
I didn't actually start them at knit night though. By the time I finished the Skew socks it was late enough that I didn't want to start anything new. So I just knit my purse socks for a bit.
I cast these on after I got home. I actually started them toe-up thinking that I could use more yarn since it's 2 skeins. But I didn't like the fabric I was making so I went down a needle size to 1s and I'm liking them much better. I also abandoned the toe-up plan. I just don't like toe-up as well and I don't know why I keep deluding myself into thinking I will use more of the yarn. If I knit the leg too long it will just be an awkward length that will scrunch down anyway (unless they're knee high and I don't have *that* much yarn). So I've knit most of a sock since Tuesday. Yes, I'm totally blaming the messy house on the sock. Definitely its fault.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Finishing Continues

I've been continuing to work on current projects in the hope of finishing some things up before the new month starts and the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup term. 
I finished my Citron and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. This is knit in the Lettuce color of Malabrigo Lace yarn. 
I mostly found it frustrating to work on because the yarn was so fine and easy to split that I couldn't work on it while reading because I had to make sure I wasn't losing stitches. I had to pay close attention while watching TV too. I do think it's lovely though and soft so it will be nice as the weather cools to wrap it around my neck. 
I did weave in the ends but I haven't blocked it and I likely won't for now but will just wear it as is.
I also finished a pair of socks. These are knit from Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight. This is the only skein of Socks that Rock lightweight that I had and I put off knitting with it for a long time because I just wasn't thrilled with the way it worked up. There was something about the yellow, green and brown that didn't appeal to me. I've been knitting with lots of fine yarns too so it was a little odd for me to knit with a thicker yarn but it was fun and fast. These are knit in the Monkey pattern but without purls. I don't think the experience with this yarn will stop me from purchasing more in the future  since it comes in such beautiful colors.
I'm itching to start about 6 new things though. Not the least of which are these two lovely skeins that I got to knit the Wonder Woman Wrap. It's really hard to wait until the end of the month, even though I have plenty of projects on the needles that are still waiting for my attention. 
Here's hoping I can hold off! 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

August Buzz

Things have gotten wild around here again. I did manage to finish my Citron but I have yet to weave in ends or block it.
I've been travelling every weekend and therefore trying desperately to keep up on the housework and other things during the week, meaning my brain hasn't had any down-time lately to even think of a blog post.
But I signed up for the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) again and it begins September 1 so I am hoping to finish up a couple quick projects yet and then be ready for a cast on party on September 1!
Basically I'm looking forward to things slowing down this fall. I feel like I've been buzzing around like a bee and I'm ready for some hunker down and knit time.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Sock stories

Socks are some of my favorite projects to knit. They're useful, small and portable and usually pretty simple since I have a basic pattern memorized.
I almost always have a sock in my purse and can take it out and knit a few rounds if I have down-time or I'm waiting for something. As a matter of fact, I try not to go anywhere without my knitting because it gives me a lot of patience for things like waiting.
Well, I recently finished some socks.

These are the Sweet Summer Sky socks knit from Vesper Sock Yarn in Sweet Summer Sky. I started them in mid-May to take with on our road trip to Shepherd's Harvest Festival and I finished them in either late June or early July. They were just purse socks and so had no deadline or anything so I mostly ignored them and just knit them when I had a minute. Since it was the Tour de Fleece and I had several other projects on the needles, I decided against starting any new socks when I finished these. I actually felt a little bit burned out on knitting socks and I had so many projects on the needles, I didn't want to start anything new. So instead I stuck my Wolkig cowl in my purse and away I went.
Well, after a few weeks of having that in my purse I found that I wasn't taking it out to work on, even when I had a minute because I didn't want to. I guess a cowl isn't as fun of a purse project as socks?
Last weekend my husband was gone and I was home alone with our pets and decided I wanted to knit some socks again. Except, why should I start some new socks when I knew I had some around that hadn't been finished. So I went digging around and came up with my Vesper Holiday Celebrate! socks. These were being knit in the Skew pattern and the first sock was finished, the second one started. What a silly time to put them down and ignore them.
After an evening (and then a bit more) working on them, they were done.

I still really love this pattern. They're a bit fiddly to knit because you do have to pay attention for almost the whole sock.

But just about the time you can take it anymore, you whack on the ribbing at the top and slip them on.

That's when it all becomes clear. They are completely, totally worth it! I just love the way they fit. They are snug to my foot, but not too snug and even in shoes that are slippery inside, that tend to make my socks slide down, these do not slide down. They stay exactly in place until I take them off. Love them!
Of course I was so inspired by the fact that I am now adding 2 new pairs of socks to my sock drawer and my love of these Skew socks, I decided to dig out another pair of Skew socks waiting to be finished. These required a little bit more work, having only one sock partly done. But I've finished the first and cast on the second now so they're making good progress.
Maybe I'll have another pair to share next week. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Tour de Fleece 2017 Recap

I thought now that the tour was over, it would be a good idea to take a look at what I accomplished during the tour this year.
Here are the 4 skeins I managed to finish this tour. While I feel like these are great skeins and I'm very happy with them, I definitely feel like I could have done more this tour.
I really didn't do much spindle-spinning (barely any as a matter of fact) and I feel like I could have spent more time at my wheel.
Oh well, it is what it is. I am very happy with the skeins I finished and I definitely feel like focusing on spinning makes me want to do more so maybe it will bring it more to the forefront of my mind and get me to actually do it.
I think of these skeins, the only one I hadn't mentioned before is the front one. The Verdant merino from Gritty Knits.
I chose it to be a sort of palette cleanse when I finished the fine yarn in the back. I just split it in two the long way, did a mild drafting and let the fiber be what it wanted to be.
I came up with a decent 2-ply and I think it turned out well. Of course, I technically finished the plying after the end of the tour but I think it still counts. 
I did start the second braid of the Champs Élysées fiber so that will be on the wheel for awhile. Hopefully I can keep motivated to get it done.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bad Influences Require Decisions

A couple of my knitting group friends are terrible influences. They both started the Starting Point wrap and spent one Knit Night talking about it and how great it was so I, of course, started pondering it myself.
When I received my June 2017 nom of the month club skein, the deal was set.
The skein had so many colors in it that I thought I could find many colors to go with it in my stash. Being in the nom club for as long as I have been, and not knitting up my skein every month, has allowed me to build a nice little stash of the gorgeous stuff. Many of them are semi solids which works very well for colorwork projects and stripey things. I love shopping from stash for things like that. So, when I was rooting around in the stash looking for things to bring to our stash swap, I also dug through and found some contenders.
I ended up with these 5 colors.

I love how the variegated has bits of each of the colors in it. I really felt like that would tie them all together. Of course a large, looming problem stood in my way. I had to wind 5 skeins of yarn! Yikes. It sat for a couple of weeks while I worked away on my spinning for Tour de Fleece and then the other evening, while watching TV with the husband, I didn't feel like spinning and felt utterly bored with my current knitting projects so I decided to wind the yarn. I've been really trying to focus on finishing up projects rather than starting new ones but I decided it was time to at least wind the yarn. 
I really found the variegated skein to be unusual-looking once it was wound. Almost like a speckled yarn rather than a traditional variegated.
Of course, once the yarn was wound it was only a matter of time until it was on the needles. 
I squished the 5 skeins of yarn into my knitting bag and off I went this morning. Rather than cleaning the house like I was supposed to be doing. Oops.
I designated the colors (in clockwise order starting with the yellow in the lower right) Butter: color 1, Steam: color 2, June 2017(unnamed): color 3, Ashburton: color 4 and Khaki: color 5.
Since I wasn't too concerned about gauge as this is a wrap and not a fitted garment, I decided to just cast on and use that as a swatch to see if I liked the colors together. It starts pretty small after all. 
Away I knit, until I had this. So, I'm having 2 issues with it. The first is this.
So many ends already! This I can easily fix by weaving them in as I go along rather than leaving them all to the end. The second is a little bit more frustrating and one that I need your help with. Yes, YOU dear reader. I'm concerned that the variegated is too bold and is taking away from the other colors.

In the pictures, it even doesn't seem as bad as it does in real life. It's so bright, with a few pops of fluorescent color even, that I think it might be taking away from the contrast that's between the other colors. The contrast that you need with this kind of project. So I need to make a decision. A difficult-to-make decision. That's where I would like your help. 
Leave me a comment telling me to either continue onward or rip and find something else to be color 3. 
I truly don't seem to be able to make a decision on my own so tell me what you think!
Option A: knit onward! It seems fine or will still work.
Option B: Rip it! Find something else to use as the variegated and keep that skein for something simple like a Hitchhiker or something.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Tour de Fleece has Begun

It's not Tuesday but it is Tour de Fleece so let's talk spinning.
Once again I'm spinning along with the Tour de France in the Tour de Fleece. I've joined just 2 teams this time. My local team; St. Cloud Knitters and the Gritty Knits team.
My local team had a lovely kickoff party again and I brought my Vespera electric wheel. I was pretty happy with the progress I made too! I worked on my partial bobbin, finishing up the spinning on it.

This is Serenity on Merino from Gritty Knits. I managed to finish up the singles at the party on Saturday.
I also managed to spin up the singles of this lovely Gritty Knits Merino called Engram.
Technically I think I finished them up on Sunday and I'm not sure that I even took a picture of the finished singles. The yarn is plied now and will be getting its bath in the next couple of days so you can take a look at it then.
I plied the Serenity on Sunday and started some lovely Polwarth that I purchased from a friend/local dyer called Champs Elysees. I have 8 ounces so it's going to take some time, especially since it's spinning so lovely and fine.

I really like how the Serenity turned out, although towards the end I got impatient to spin something else and ended up spinning my singles a bit thicker than I had at the beginning. Since I chain-plied it I got less yardage than I had hoped and ended up with a little bit thicker yarn on one end than the other. That's okay, I will make it work. It's still lovely handspun.
I'm really proud of myself for sticking with the spinning every day thing. Yesterday was quite a day. After work in the morning I had to make a bunch of phone calls regarding my car which needed some work (the bane of my existence, phone calls) and then rearrange our living room (by myself before the husband got home from work) and clean up under the couch so the couch could go out to the curb for large goods pickup on Saturday. When he got home we carried it out. I'm so glad it's leaving honestly! I was so tired after all that in the heat of the day that I was so proud of myself for sitting down at the wheel after supper when we decided to watch a little TV. I'm about half done with the first braid of Polwarth so if I stick to this progress, soon I should have the first 4 ounces of the Polwarth finished and ready for plying. I'm hoping it won't take the rest of the tour and I can get some other spinning in too! Although the Vespera e-spinner is currently empty. I could start something on that!