Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Being Thankful

Winter has officially arrived here. Maybe not according to the calendar but according to the more than a foot of snow and the super cold. I don't enjoy winter. I do however enjoy all the woolies that aren't so crazy when the weather is like it has been. I didn't have a whole lot of knitting time in October due to the play and I didn't seem to find a whole lot in November either, although that was my own fault. I just didn't work on things. Maybe I was feeling a little bored with my projects?
I did manage to finish my Froot Loops socks.

This is Fibernymph Dyeworks Bedazzled sock in the Froot Loops colorway. It's really all the colors of Froot Loops cereal and you can't tell how sparkly they are in any pictures I have taken but I love how sparkly they are. They make me really happy. I managed to get these turned in for Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup as a Detention (project started before the month started and finished during the month).
I decided to go small for my class turn in and knit some teeny socks.

I took a picture of them with the Froot Loops socks for scale. I think they're so cute! They're meant to be for a one-year old but I'm not sure that my gauge is good enough. I'll have to find a one-year old to test them on. These haven't been "graded" yet but I'm confident they will be fine. These were turned in for Defense Against the Dark Arts or DADA. The prompt was to use a pattern designed by a House Cup Member. I knit these from the pattern Carmen's First Birthday Socks designed by Barknknit on Ravelry. I really liked the simple pattern and had lots of fun knitting them. This term you got bonus points if you turned in all 3 months of the term for DADA and I did so that will be nice.
I had a pretty good Thanksgiving and Birthday (which is right after Thanksgiving) so I'm trying to focus on the things I'm thankful for and not the things I could be frustrated about (like the weather). Thankful for; Knitting and knitter friends! Spinning, wool, my job, which I'm really enjoying, my family and my furry pets. All of these things make up my wild and crazy life and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Have you started your Christmas knitting yet? It's crunch time!
Next time we can talk about my OWL for Harry Potter House Cup. Whether I made it or not, what I learned and what's next.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hoping Is Not The Same as Actually Knitting

Normally, I don't like to make posts without photos. I know how much I look forward to blog posts with pictures of what the writer is knitting. I feel bad that this will probably be the only post this week but I wanted to get something up, to get back into the habit of posting regularly. I just have nothing to show from my limited knitting time.
I'm mostly working on my OWL project for Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup which is a sweater. I'm woefully behind and it looks the same as it always does. It's the Cambridge Jacket but with some modifications. As of October 31 I should have been 50% through the sweater. I'm nowhere near that far. I'm still working on the back. That means I have to finish the back, knit two sleeves and two fronts. Something is going to have to give if I'm going to get it done in time for the deadline which is at the end of November. (Hint: It will be housework, it's always housework that gets neglected.)
The problem is that my wonderful husband has shared some germs with me. I have a cold and I keep finding myself just sitting and holding my knitting. It seems like it's too much work to actually knit. Then, when I actually feel almost human again and I can sit and knit, our little kitten comes and sits on my lap, the cold weather has been great for encouraging her to do that and I love our little snuggle time but she does not like me to knit. She tries to chew the yarn and the needles and anything else she can reach. That does not work for me so I usually just set it aside for a bit.
The truth is, I need to get in gear, I need to get knitting and get going or I'm not going to make the deadline. Maybe posting this here, publicly admitting how behind I am will get me in gear. Let's hope!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Knitting Cowl

Hello, is this thing on? Wow! I cannot believe it has been more than a month since I've had a blog post up. Things have been crazy here. My husband and I were in a community theater production and with me starting a new job; I now work 4 mornings a week as the secretary at our church, I have found my quiet time very limited. That means all crafting, even knitting sometimes doesn't happen. I know, it scares me too.
I did manage to get a class turned in for the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House cup in October, but just one. I knit this lovely Eleanor cowl from some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport I got from my friend Emily's destash. It turned out blue-y purple and wonderful!

It is very difficult to photograph though. I knit this pattern once before from some handspun and at the time I knew I wanted to knit it again and I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed it.

As you can (hopefully) see from the pictures, I did knit through the back loops on some of the knit stitches so they would stand out from the purl stitches and hold their own in the lace a little bit better.
I loved knitting this and it felt good to have a finished object in just a couple of days of knitting time. I should keep that in mind. I think this cowl will be wonderful to wear on those cold winter evenings when I actually get to sit and knit.
I hope to be back to more regular blogging, especially as the craziness of holiday knitting is coming up fast as well. Thanks for sticking with me, you're always welcome to leave a comment and let me know you're waiting for more posts. Maybe it will get me in gear.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Exit 0

Recently a local friend of mine invited those of us in the local knitgroup to start a KAL. It's for a very interesting shawl called Exit 0. There's an official KAL going on in the designer's group, you can find that here. I dithered back and forth for a bit, trying to decide if I wanted to knit it. I decided to go looking in my stash to see if I had the right yarn before I made any decisions about it. 
At first I was thinking gray, purple and red but I didn't find anything that was working just right so I decided on these three.

As you know (if you ever read this blog) I'm in the Gritty Knits Nom-of-the-month club so I have lots of nom sitting around waiting to be knit into lovely things. These are all from this year's clubs and I love them together!

They're Coelacanth, Megalodon and Mockingbird. They looked great together and as the pattern calls for a dark, a medium and a light, I thought these fit the bill nicely. I decided to go for it and purchased the pattern and knit the swatch. The pattern wasn't actually out yet and I got a planning page but it worked for swatching.

I love it in the swatch. The pattern has been released now and the KAL officially started. I just haven't cast on yet. The problem? You cast on over 300 stitches to begin with. I need to sit down somewhere quiet where I can focus and how often does that happen?
Today is also the last day of the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup for September. I have 3 classes turned in so I'm not worried but tomorrow is the official cast on for new projects for October. Maybe I should wait and cast on tomorrow? We'll see. It's not like I plan to knit this whole shawl in October.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Knits of Camp

I had great fun last weekend camping and the best part about camping with knitters is that they understand the need to get lots of knitting time. We had it planned so one of us was in charge of each meal and that meant that until your meal was up, you could just relax and knit. (Unless you had to walk to the bathroom. We did a fair bit of that too.)
I packed my fingerless mitts but I couldn't find them on Friday after we unloaded so I started a pair out of some handspun I brought along. They were quick, easy and came out great.

I'm considering releasing it as a pattern (free) so shout out in the comments if you'd be interested in seeing it.
Here I am knitting in my mitts.

It was cold, we bundled up.
I also knit a monster chunk. He was dubbed George Fredrick IX and started having adventures. He made friends with a dragonfly.

He even took a selfie.

(Photo Credit on this one to my friend Cathy)

He just loves being outdoors.
I got lots of work done on my first Christmas present this year too! My mom's Simple Skyp socks.

I didn't quite finish them camping though, I had to finish the second toe at home last week.

For something different I continued the Skyp pattern down the heel flap. I don't know that I would do that again, but it was a fun experiment. Now the real question is; should I wash them, or keep the fire scent for my mom at Christmas.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Camp Knit-Til-U-Drop

Last night I got home from camping. The best part about this camping trip was the people I went with. My knit group! It wasn't all of us but we managed to have a great time anyway.
We stayed in a camper cabin at a state park. We had electricity but no running water or indoor cooking.

Right away I installed the Camp Knit-Til-U-Drop sign I had made in the window. It was pretty much the theme of the weekend.

We got our gear stowed inside the cabin and then, settled ourselves around the campfire.

It was chilly enough that our hand knits were very welcome.

Hats, shawls, fingerless mitts (so you can keep knitting) and hand knit socks were plentiful!
It didn't stop us from some shenanigans though. Like rolling down the hill.

By Saturday afternoon we had a mascot too.

George Fredrick IX. It was decided he needs to come on all our Knit trips in the future.

He made friends with a huge dragonfly. Hung out on the coffee maker and enjoyed his time at camp too.

Overall it was a great time! There were wonderful friends, great food including gluten free s'mores.

And Make-Your-Own Trail Mix (which I sadly did not take a photo of) and lots of other yummy things.
It was so much fun! While I'm happy to be home where I don't have to walk a quarter of a mile to the bathroom and can flush the toilet and take showers when I feel like it, I already miss Knit Camp.

(Good thing we have plans to go again next year.)
Next time: The knitting I did at camp.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nom got Nommed

I'm really enjoying my time in the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House cup this time around and I love my Ravenclaw group. We have so much fun chatting about everything and nothing in the Common Room of the tower. This time around I'm trying to do more to participate than just turn in my one class. There are lots of other activities too. You can propose an OWL (a project that takes the entire term of 3 months, or so, to complete), you can do a Mission for the Order of the Phoenix (a project that takes about 2 months to complete with definitive start and end-dates) and you can even play Quidditch. 
The first round of Quidditch this term is a little bit different because we have to deal with Umbridge! (I'm just going to apologize right now to anyone not at all familiar with the Harry Potter Universe because this entire post will likely look like gobbledy gook.) Umbridge is acting as High Inquisitor so we need to show that our team should remain going. There's no yardage requirement on this first round though so we took what we know of Umbridge and knit something. I chose; a pink catnip mouse. Pictured with an adorable kitten, how could Umbridge resist!? (She couldn't)
So I present Nom the Catnip Mouse;

My helpful assistant was extremely interested right from the beginning; trying to eat it while it was still on the needles.
Once it was done, one quick sniff and it was deemed tasty and munchable.

She carried it around playing furiously for about 10 minutes.

Then he had a hole. Later that same night, Nom's tail was found on the Kitchen Floor. It's a good thing I wasn't emotionally invested in this knit. I had fun with it and so did Lili and now it's done for.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Mitering is so Ravenclaw

As I mentioned in my last post I signed up for the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup again this term. I since have been sorted into Ravenclaw again. That makes me so happy, I really enjoy that group. As such, I'm trying to get something finished to turn in for Detention (which is a project started before the term begins that you finish in the term) I'm happy to be able to finish a blanket square and since it is "finished" before it is sewn into a blanket, it counts.
I dug out my Mitered Crosses blanket squares and finished up the 4th square.

I really like how this one turned out and it makes me happy because the yarn I was using for the edging ran out and I'm in the next ball for the edges of the cross. That means I'm making some actual progress on it. While it's not a project that has any deadline since it's just for me, I still want to finish it sometimes in the next 10 years or so. (Just joking, I know it won't take that long provided I do a square here and there and they're a decent little brain break between other projects.)
Here is proof that there are actually 3 other squares.

I'm waiting to seam any together because I'm not sure what other colors will be used as I progress. Also, I'm not sure if I will make it bigger or smaller than the pattern calls for and I don't want all the same colored squares together.
I had a bit of a sad over the weekend when I dug out my Cursed Cable Mitts and discovered that the second one was not going as well as planned. I placed the thumb incorrectly and as I was trying to determine if it was bad enough to rip (only two stitches off, I may have been able to live with it. Maybe.) I disovered that I didn't move up in needle size after the ribbing at the hand so I had to rip back to that. At that point, as I was not at home with my knitting bag and additional needles, I ripped it entirely. I will cast on again soon because I would like to have the mitts for camping with my Knitter friends later this month. We'll see if it's actually done that soon.
In the meantime, I did get my lovely Magrathea ready for the edging though.

I knew when I started it would be more of a scarf than a shawl but I'm finding myself wishing I could keep going and make it bigger because it really is lovely. At some point I will probably knit a larger one. In the meantime, it's time for casting on for the HPKCHC! I need to figure out what I'm going to do for classes this term and if I can fit my Christmas knitting into the prompts. It is September already.

Friday, August 29, 2014

No New Knitting

I've been trying so hard to work on my current projects and not start anything new. The Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC) term starts on the first of September and I signed up to be sorted again. Since I took a couple of terms off, I'm not sure if I will end up as a regular student which is fine. I understand that they are often full and cannot accommodate everyone.
The problem with not starting anything new is that I'm utterly bored with what I'm currently knitting. It isn't terrible knitting, it's lovely.
Handspun socks.
These are from the Stripes Kit from Gritty knits Merino of the month and I am loving how they are knitting up but knitting plain socks is plain and I'm not in the place where I love that right now. Plus, I knit a plain old short row heel and I don't love how it turned out. I need to rip back and do a different heel.
The only other thing that's a current project is my Magrathea shawl from Martina Behm's Hitchhiker series. I love it so far. I'm knitting it out of Gritty Knits nom in the colorway Cranberry.

What's better than a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon shawlette? Nothing, it's soft and squishy and wonderful.
I really like it but it's not a pattern I seem to be able to memorize so I have to look at the chart all the time and that means it doesn't work for some kinds of knitting. Even watching TV sometimes it doesn't work because I can't put all my focus on the show I'm watching.
It is so lovely (although it does need a good blocking, the edging doesn't look that great yet) and it will be worth it in the end but I just need to sit down and get some work done on it. That's the plan for this weekend. Along with the normal cooking and spending time with the husband of course.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Socks for Surfing, or Something Similar

Spinning has been thin on the ground since the end of the Tour. Mostly I just spin for a few minutes here or there, I think I burned myself out a bit; so I'm taking a break from any set goals with my spinning and instead spending a little more time with my knitting.
I made a deal with a knitting group friend to knit her a pair of socks for some yarn she traded me. I made the agreement at Christmas time and since it's already August, it was high time I got them done.
I chose some nice yarn from the Deborah Norville collection at JoAnn Fabrics and started knitting. I chose to do them toe-up with the Wendy Johnson Slip Stitch Heel, messaging the friend when I needed to know her foot length. The yarn is in the colorway "Surf" and I really think they came out lovely. The Superwash Merino/Bamboo/Nylon blend is just lovely and while it's not my favorite to knit with, it is a nice, sturdy yarn.

The socks have already gone to live in their new home along with my old wheel! This lovely friend is a new spinner and she decided to buy my Ashford Scholar. I had decided to sell it to someone who would love it like I did since I just don't use it any more. My lovely Schacht Matchless does everything I need to do in spinning so the Scholar was sadly neglected. It was a little bittersweet seeing my first wheel leave but I'm so glad it will get loved now!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The End of Another Tour de Fleece

This summer has been a little bit crazy. I seem to keep setting goals and way overdoing my commitment to them. I set high goals for the Tour de Fleece, expecting lots of spinning time and I did have lots of spinning time. But when you're spinning lace yarns, it takes a bit longer to spin them. So I didn't finish everything. 
I finished the brown yarn.
I'm really happy this is all spun and hopefully by the time the weather turns colder, I'll be ready to knit it into something sturdy for the cold.
Then I worked on some of my other TdF goals. I got pretty far on some things.

I finished the Gritty Knits Rambouillet in La Grande Boucle and I finished the Cloudlover Organic Polwarth/Silk in Artemis. I also finished the Cloudlover Merino in Peacock.
Overall I'm decently happy with my finished products and I just need to get them washed and thwacked so I can knit lovely things with them.
Meanwhile, I've started a couple of new projects and I'm knitting away on them (mostly ignoring my spinning for now) but hopefully that means I can get back to more regular blogging.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tour De Fleece, Closing in on the End

The Tour de Fleece continues and while I have greatly enjoyed our two rest days, I have been making great progress on my spinning too.
I finished my Cloudlover Merino in Peacock.

It turned out so lovely I can't stand it! It's pretty well-balanced too. Just barely a twist in the skein.

With 730 yards of two-ply from 4 ounces, it's pretty much a true laceweight as well. It isn't washed yet (you have to stop carrying it around and petting it to wash it) I think it will be even more lovely when the twist is set.

I had a hard time stopping myself from taking more pictures.
I've been working hard on my spindle spinning as well.

I really wanted to focus on my spindling this tour. I'm spinning Cloudlover Polwarth in Haunted Vineyard on the Turkish spindle and I'm filling it for the third time. It seems like it's progressing well. Partly because I take it with me everywhere and spin whenever I have a minute. The small size is so great for that.
Next to it is the Spinsanity spindle that I'm spinning Gritty Knits Merino in the April 2010 club colorway. I love it but progress is slow and I haven't focused as much of my spindling time on this spindle.
To the right is the Russian spindle with the Cloudlover Rambouillet in Iris on it. I have filled the spindle once and I'm working on it more. I really would like to enjoy supported spindling and do well at it but some days it goes well and I love it, some days it is a struggle and lately it has felt like more of a struggle than anything. I love the fiber though so I keep plugging away.
I've also been spending time spinning on my wheel.

I just love my Schacht Matchless and the only thing I don't love about it is how heavy it is if you want to take it somewhere. On the left is the fist bobbin of Cloudlover Organic Polwarth/Silk in Artemis. It's so shiny and sleek (and a bit slippery to spin) on the right is the Gritty Knits Rambouillet in La Grande Boucle. I finished the first half of the Artemis last night so I decided to work on the La Grande Boucle and I have to say switching from a sleek, shiny, slippery spin into a bouncy, crimpy spin was a challenge but they're both so beautiful!
I've really been neglecting my knitting the last few weeks and focusing on the tour spinning but did start a new project with handspun on the rest days. I'll save that for next week.
Have a great weekend and if you're doing the Tour de Fleece; Spin fast! We're almost to the finish line!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tour de Fleece 2014

Last week sort of got away from me. Sorry about that. This week we're already to Tuesday though and Tuesdays are for spinning. Since it's the Tour de Fleece I figured I should at least post something here about my goals for the Tour.
I laid out all the fiber I'd like to spin.

At the top, on the bobbins is some coarse brown wool I've had for a couple of years. I've been spinning it into a traditional 3-ply for a sweater and I have had it partly finished for so long. I decided my very first goal was to finally finish it.
Below that, starting on the left, the peachy fiber is Merino/Bamboo from Zarzuela's Fibers (sadly no longer dyeing) To the right of that is the Gritty Knits Tour de Fleece colorway La Grande Boucle on Rambouillet. Then Cloudlover Organic Polwarth/Silk in Artemis. On the far right is Cloudlover Merino in Peacock. I had started it on a spindle and I'd like to finish it but I'll be doing it on the wheel.
Then in the front on the left is Cloudlover Rambouillet in Iris on my Russian Spindle. It was also already started and I'm planning to keep working on it. Then to the right of that is some Gritty Knits Merino from the Merino of the Month club way back in April of 2010! I'm working on it on a spindle as well. I really like how it's coming out so I plan to keep working on it.
At the last minute I also decided to add;

This Cloudlover Polwarth in Haunted Vineyard from the Knitgirllls SAL/KAL.
My main goals though are just to keep working on all these things, every day of the tour and make some progress.
The first thing I did was finish the coarse brown wool.

On the first day I filled 3 bobbins with the last of it and plied it up into yarn the next day. (Just the 3 in the front) It's all finished and I'm so glad. To be honest, I kinda hate it now so I don't know that I will knit with it very soon. As a matter of fact, I may just sell it.

I'm making okay progress on the other things though but sadly slowly because my spinning time the last couple of days has been seriously cut short.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Learning Experience (or Not)

The other day I was knitting away on my handspun socks.

They had a heel and I was working up the leg and enjoying the feel of knitting with handspun (as one does) and I noticed something. I noticed that the foot looked long. It looked too long really, I started to get a sinking feeling. I look at it, I held it up to my foot. I looked at it some more. I thought about the gauge I had checked and the math I had done to check on when to start the gusset increases. I decided to try it out. I pulled the needles out and pulled the sock on my foot. There was over an inch of sock flapping at my toes. Way too big.
I really don't know what happened. I measured gauge in a couple of places (partly because it's handspun and might be a little different here and there) I figured out how many increases I would need to do and how many rounds that would take. I added in a bit for the actual heel turn and away I went. I did actual math. They still didn't work.
To me, that's part of the trouble with toe-up socks. You don't know that it isn't right until the heel is actually done. At that point it's so demoralizing to have to rip back. I decided these needed a good, long time out. So then, this happened.

Yup, ripped out entirely. I'll reskein the yarn and wash it and then maybe I'll think about winding it and casting on again but maybe top-down this time. No sense getting all crazy again.
I also heard the other day that it's six months to Christmas. That caused me to do this (after ripping the handspun sock).

I'm not too sure who these will go to yet. I was thinking my stepdad but now I'm not sure. Is this too, uh, girlie? Time will tell. Please note: I obviously didn't learn from being frustrated with the other toe-up socks. These are toe-up too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Molly Ringworm Socks

This week has been busy and full but very good too. My darling cat came home so I've been enjoying lots of furry snuggles and knitting plain, simple things. As evidenced by these purse socks that got finished.

Normally Tuesdays are for spinning but all I've really been doing for spinning is getting in a little practice with my spindles before the Tour de Fleece starts and the progress is slow going on those.
So, back to the socks. I started them some time ago and while they're just plain socks, they didn't actually spend a whole lot of time in my purse, which is why it took me so long to finish them. The purse spot was being held by my Vesper Smoke on the Water socks for a long time and only when they were finally finished did these fall into place.
The yarn is an absolutely beautiful 80 Superwash Merino/10 Cashmere/10 Nylon blend from Ethereal Fibers in her Autocorrect series and it's called; Molly Ringworm. I love all the colors in it although I'm not too sure about the way the colors lined up with my stitch count but they're lovely, soft socks and I can't wait for it to be cold enough for me to actually need socks again. (Although, I don't want it to come too soon!)
I did a plain top-down sock with these and worked an eye of partridge heel and decided to change up the toe and did a round toe rather than a flat toe. I wanted to see how it would fit. Except for this brief modeling session, I haven't worn them though so time will tell if the round toe is a new favorite.

When these lovely socks were done I decided to opt for sanity and pull out a languishing UFO to finish rather than start something new. So I dug out some lovely handspun socks I had started a long time back and I've been working steadily away on them.

Look, this one has a heel now! This is 100% Merino from Gritty Knits but I spun it and plied it very tightly so I'm not too worried about wear. To give you an idea of this yarn, I'm knitting with US 1s (2.25 mm) and it's chain-plied yarn. It's very fine. They're a joy to knit (isn't it always a joy to knit with your handspun?) so I'm enjoying them immensely.