First FO’s of the Year!

Wow, it’s the end of January already!  I might be having a harder time with how fast this month went because we’ve had such a mild winter in the Great Lakes so I’m not quite as worn down by snow and cold as I usually am at this time of year.  It’s a good thing because this is the first time in two years that I have not had a trip planned to a more tropical destination in February so thanks winter for working with me this year!

Either way, I’ve had plenty of knitting time this month but that will not necessarily show in my FO’s for the month.  After all the Christmas mermaid blankets, I took a short break and then started work on a fourth one which was also a special order (yea for Knit Picks after Christmas sale!)  As long as I was ordering, I decided to do a scrap mermaid blanket and donate it to our youth group raffle that is held during our Lenten fish frys. I needed a couple more full skeins and then used leftovers from the Christmas order to make a rainbow mermaid.  Initially I started working on the private order but was told there was no rush and the first fish fry is February 19 (Easter is super early this year!) so I switched and cast on the rainbow mermaid which is why my actual number of finished items it low this month.  Here’s a picture of the rainbow mermaid.  As usual, I used the Mermaid Tail Lap Blanket for Children and Teens by Angie Hartley which you can find on Ravelry or her Etsy store and used Knit Picks Brava Worsted and held two skeins together.

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I also can’t resist sharing this picture of the Christmas order I did for my friend’s little girls – they are too cute 🙂

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The only other thing I finished is A Girl Thing by Joji Locatelli and it’s from her new Authentic Collection.  I can’t say how much I love the Collection. There’s such a variety of patterns which is great for someone like me who is not much (okay, or at all) of a sweater knitter.  As soon as I saw the hat I knew I had to make it from my leftover 3 Color Cashmere Cowl yarn because it had many of the same design elements and would make a lovely set.  Recently, I saw on Instagram that Joji is now designing a 3 Color Cashmere Shawl so I’ll probably end up down that rabbit hole when it’s released…

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Love my hat/cowl set!

Last I finished a sock and did cast on the second one (which was my only cast on for the month!!!  Go me on finishing those wips!)  This sock is with the Arne & Carlos yarn so I’m doing a vanilla sock and am trying out the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I enjoyed the heel as it does not require picking up any stitches but I ended up with a weird pucker and I’m not sure if it was a sizing issue or the fact that halfway through the heel the stitches came off the needle and, perhaps, did not get put back on correctly.  (By the way, anyone else notice that there are evil yarn demons that attack your purse knitting???)

The instructions for the heel only include the heel so I broke out my Sock Architecture book to find a new toe to try.  Now, for some reason in all my knitting years no one ever told me that there are toes that do not require kitchner stitch – it was like a whole new world opened up to me!!!  I did the Round Toe and love, love, love it!

So, let’s call this 2 1/2 FO’s for January.  The 1/2 is a languishing WIP so a little bit of progress 🙂

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

Well Christmas knitting is in full swing in my house so some of my current projects will have to wait until after the holiday to be revealed.  But, of course, there are always other projects to talk about!  My current purse knitting is, of course, a pair of socks and this week it got a new bag so I think that’s what we’ll talk about today.

I’m using the Regia Arne & Carlos yarn I got while in Wisconsin this summer. I have the winter night colorway. I’ve decided to start experimenting with my sock construction to see what works best for me.  This experimentation was inspired by many of the podcasts I listen to who talk about all these different socks and by the fact that while I love my hand knit socks I acknowledge they could fit me a bit better (and don’t even start that swatching may help with fit…)

There are two things I know about sock construction for me.  1. I prefer cuff down and 2. double points are the only way, don’t even talk to me about the sorcery that is magic loop or two circulars.  So, let’s look at these points.  First, cuff down – my first pair of socks was toe up on two circulars/two at a time.  This pair nearly killed me and it took my first time in the Ravellenic Games to finish them.  I think the main reason for this is I hate ribbing so ending the sock with endless knitting and then two inches of ribbing was like torture.  I also enjoy my project getting smaller as it gets towards the end – it clearly goes faster!  One of our group’s sock knitters convinced me to give socks another go by trying a pair with dpns and it worked!  So far I’ve not been afflicted with Second Sock Syndrome.

All of my early socks have traditional heel flaps and/or short row heels.  I am really the only sock knitter in my regular group so I don’t really have anyone to talk to about socks.  Once I started listening to podcasts I started to realize how many things were to knit socks and so I started to investigate.  My last pair I used the afterthought heel.  Meh – here are my issues with it.  When I kitchner that toe I want to be done with that sock.  Having to go back and still do a heel was not making me happy.  I also did not enjoy putting all the stitches back on the needles and still ended up with gaps.  Also, kitchner, AGAIN…  Ugh, I hate kitchner so anything that doubles the amount of kitchner stitches is not for me.

The Arne & Carlos yarn clearly only needs a vanilla sock so I could play with heel construction again.  This time I’ve opted for the fish lips kiss heel.  I had my mom come over and we made the cardboard cut out of my foot and I did all the measurements.  I’m about halfway through the first heel and so far am enjoying it.

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In the meantime, the folks over at Cooperative Press were having an awesome sale so I ordered Sock Architecture by Lara Neel and will explore those options with my next pair of socks.

The other exciting thing about this project is my new project bag!!   I won it in the Turtles Journey KAL that was hosted by Heather Anderson during the month of September.  You can learn more about Heather and her designs in her Ravely group Heather Anderson Designs.  It’s beautiful and keeps everything inside it much better than the bag I had in my purse where needles often ended up rolling around everywhere.  I also love the contrast of the inside and outside fabric.

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What’s everyone else knitting this weekend????

July’s Finished Object

Happy August everyone!  A quick post as I’ve been on the road quite a bit these last few weeks (more on that later 🙂 )  I did want to share this month’s finished objects.  First, my socks (which were featured in my #the100dayproject post)

Pattern: Afterthought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman Yarn: ONline Supersocke Swing Color Colorway: 1796

Pattern: Afterthought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman
Yarn: ONline Supersocke Swing Color
Colorway: 1796

My other finished object is this hood/cowl and I’ll write more about this one in the coming weeks.

Pattern: Wren Wolf Cowl by Heidi May Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky (pink & grey) Cream was from stash (maybe Lion Brand)

Pattern: Wren Wolf Cowl by Heidi May
Yarn: Berroco Vintage Chunky (pink & grey) Cream was from stash (maybe Lion Brand)

So that’s it for this month – more on these projects and my recent travels in the upcoming weeks!

#The100DayProject

I’ve hinted over the past few months about my participation in the 100 Day Project.  It was something I saw on Instagram way back in April and decided what the heck??  There were only 3 rules – pick an action, do the action each day for 100 days, share the action on Instagram each day with the tag #the100dayproject and a hashtag chosen just for your project (mine was #100daysofsockknitting).  When I thought about joining in, knitting was the obvious choice but I felt I needed to be more specific and I knew I had two different socks on the needles that needed to get done and a backlog of sock yarn waiting to be socks so I went with sock knitting.

Here are a few reflections on the project.

1. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish if you do just a little bit each day.  I have to say there were probably only 3-4 days during the 100 where I did not knit at least one row on whatever sock I was working on at the time.  In all, I knit 6 socks which was completing two socks who had mates waiting and two new pairs.

2. It gets really hard to take interesting pictures of socks for 100 days in a row.  I’m sure my followers on Instagram will be thrilled to see something besides socks in my feed.  On the hand, it’s kind of fun to look at my feed and see how the socks grew.  It’s like people – we don’t always see them grow but look back at the pictures and there they were growing the whole time.

3. There were days when I really wanted to work on other projects but I made myself do a least a couple of rows and post the photo and that’s really how the progress happened.  Socks can get a little boring after some time (which, again, the pictures show as the last pair of socks is the shortest)

4. Searching the #The100DayProject on Instagram will provide so many different projects and expressions of creativity – it’s amazing what people do out there!

Here’s the results:

I’m a bit perplexed now that it’s over.  I need a break from socks (and I have a lot of commissioned projects to work on) but I will also be doing some traveling in the next few weeks and I usually like to have a pair of socks to take along so I might need to find a replacement travel project, perhaps my long suffering Barn Raising Quilt squares will get a few more added to the ranks!

June’s FO’s

Ah, end of the month, time to figure show off this month’s finished objects (yes, plural, again!).  There’s been a lot of change going in my life as of late and I believe that has crept its way into my knitting, or more specifically, my knitting time.  Starting to get back in the groove so that’s a good thing.

It must have been end of April or the start of May when the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl swept through my knitting group.  The pattern is by Joji Locatelli and I love a ton of her patterns.  The photos for this particular pattern, along with the yarn colors from Miss Babs really make you want to cast one on immediately.  I took a peek at the kits Miss Babs had done and they were just a little out of my price range so I favorited the pattern and moved on.  Shortly after that, C from my knitting group was checking out the new Malabrigo Silkpaca and thought it would be perfect for the cowl.  After we all checked out the pattern we all decided to make one.  It was a new shipment and my LYS had a great selection of colors and there was something for everyone.  I think only two of us have finished so far and we love them!!!  I entered mine in the Fluffy Fibers gentlealong in which she encouraged us to knit (or craft) something that would help us be gentle to ourselves.  What a lovely idea!  And knitting with a silk/alpaca blend in these fun colors really did allow me to be gentle to myself.  The pattern was super fun and went so much faster than I anticipated considering it was knit on a size 3 needle.  The different sections keep your interest and, let’s face, you’re just knitting to get to the pop color when you start!  I did not enjoy the lace section.  I’m not much of a lace knitter and there was a weird stitch in it that really did make me happy.  I will admit that I omitted one repeat of the lace of section but I think it still turned out okay!

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locateli Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca (Sapphire Green, Violetas, Purple Mystery)

Pattern: 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locateli
Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca (Sapphire Green, Violetas, Purple Mystery)

The photo on the left is before a bit of light blocking.  I was not going to block but C. told me she had just done some light blocking and it helped a lot.  I think the blocking did make a difference.  I used the steam setting on my iron and dampened the cowl and held the iron above it while stretching it a bit.  I’ve already used it at work to keep my neck warm because there is a fan that blows directly on me right now.

The next FO is the infamous pair of socks that was subject of last week’s post.  I have to say that with as many problems as I had with that second sock, it was by far my best effort at kitchner stitch ever.  I was shocked!  But, I love the socks and can’t wait to wear them when fall rolls around!

Pattern: Fruit Stripe Gum Socks by Leah Oakley Yarn: Fab Funky Fibers Self Striping in Pink Rainbow

Pattern: Fruit Stripe Gum Socks by Leah Oakley
Yarn: Fab Funky Fibers Self Striping in Pink Rainbow

I had to get a close up of the killer kitchner I did on that toe!!  As I was checking out the picture of the finished socks, I think I realized what my stripe issue was – I think I used a different number of stitches on the second sock.  You can see the sock on my right leg it a bit more stretched out.  I have a feeling I played with the number of stitches on the leg and did not bother to write it down.  That will teach me a lesson (hopefully!)

What’s on My Needles This Weekend?

Or the better title for this week’s post – let’s talk about this sock!

Yarn - Pink Rainbow by Fab Funky Fibers Pattern - Fruit Stripe Gum by Leah Oakley

Yarn – Pink Rainbow by Fab Funky Fibers
Pattern – Fruit Stripe Gum by Leah Oakley

I’ve mentioned the #100dayproject that I’ve joined in on over on Instagram and my thing is sock knitting.  I knit four socks in the first 50 days and I’ve yet to complete one in the following 25.  Part of the explanation is just a lot going on right now which has cut into my knitting time.  But, and this is bigger part, this second sock is going to be the death of me!!!!!!

Oh, it looks all pretty and innocent in that picture but no, it’s the devil in disguise!  For whatever reason, this one just has not gone smoothly.  It started out on the first few rounds of the pattern which did not work out and I could not figure out why.  I finally got in the groove and was working my way down to the heel.  I don’t always try to match my socks but these just seemed to want to match so I made sure to start this sock at the same place.  What I particularly had loved was that my leg length equaled one repeat of each rainbow color.  I was coming on the purple which is the last color and I thought the sock looked short so I compared it to the finished one and this is what I found:

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Yep, those are two very different socks!  What the heck???  I knit these on the same needles with the same yarn and my tension never varies so what happened???  Now my heels don’t match which makes me very sad.

As if this was not enough trauma for one sock, I decided to knit before breakfast.  I’m thinking of coming up with a list of cardinal knitting rules and I believe one will be “never knit before breakfast”.  I was up early on Saturday and excited to head to Estes Park Wool Market and thought, “oh I can get some work done on this heel”  Right, here’s what transpired:

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Clearly, I can’t read, had to pull out the stitches and, boy, they did not want to go back on that needle.  I’ve made it past the heel and am working on the home stretch.  Fingers crossed the rest of the foot and the toe go smoothly.  I’m a bit nervous for what type of disaster awaits me when I kitchner the toe but I’ll cross that bridge later.  First, I have to hope that the stripes on the foot match the first sock (because, yes, I did fix the stripe matching issue when I started the foot…)

What’s on My Needles This Weekend?

I have spent most of the month working on Christmas knitting and a couple of orders that needed to get done.  So, as I got ready to go knitting on Thursday I realized I needed to find something to take with me.  I’ve been wanting to reorganize my yarn shelves but am waiting for a snowy weekend to get that done.  But, I was able to take the first step on Thursday.  I cleaned up the UFO corner.  It seemed that my UFOs were multiplying on their own in the corner.  They were also combining with half-emptied project bags that had been thrown over there once the project was completed.  I found a lot of projects I had forgot about, a lot of “missing” needles and a lot of yarn that needs to be incorporated in the yarn shelves.  It felt good.

One of the projects I found were a pair of socks I started over the summer.  The pattern is Socks for Euni which is a free Ravelry download.  The yarn is Regia Fluormania in the coral/aqua colorway.  We got this yarn in awhile back and for whatever reason I was drawn to this colorway, not my usual colors.  I had just finished a number of plain socks and was looking for a little something different to knit in socks and found this pattern while searching Ravelry.  It’s a right twist pattern and that stitch is not that hard but I was having a really hard time with it.  The pattern calls for the socks to be knit on two circular needles which I hate so I working on dpns.  However, I’m definitely making this harder than it needs/should be.  Anyway, the socks got tossed aside because I felt like I was making no progress and I had other things that needed to get done.  I was thrilled to find them as I had a work seminar the next day and socks are the best to knit under the table and I didn’t want to cast on a new pair.  Here’s how they look:

I took them to knitting Thursday night and they were so easy to knit!  I’m not sure what happened while they were in time out but all of a sudden the pattern made total sense and they seem to be flying along now.  The random short stripes of aqua in all the coral make me a little crazy but I’m sure I’ll get over it.  Otherwise, it should be heel turning time soon!

Before I close, I want to send a special hats off to my friend at Wool Forward who completed her own 30 hats in 30 days challenge last week!  Check out her blog to see the 30 amazing hats she created!!