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 🙂

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!

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!!

#OperationSockDrawer

For the past few months I’ve noticed this hashtag movement on Twitter in the knitting circles.  I was a bit curious as to who/what was behind this idea.  And, since I had been knitting socks as if I were running around barefoot I thought I might need to get in on it.  Two things happened that really pushed me to investigate further.  First, my church decided to have an art fair this summer and my parents keep asking if I will enter something I have knit.  Second, I got a new phone and figured out how to download and listen to podcasts on it.  And here’s the story of how these two things got me moving.

When the art fair was first mentioned I think my parents were thinking of one of the many shawls I have knit.  I thought of #operationsockdrawer. As I’ve been seeing the tags on Twitter I’ve been keeping my hand knit socks in a special section of one of my sock drawers and thought that would make a great entry in the art fair.  What could be more colorful and fun than a drawer full of hand knit socks?  I then decided I needed to find the origins of this and could also get a good blog post out of the whole thing.  Bonus!

My next step was to Google #operationsockdrawer to see what info I could find.  That is when I stumbled across the Knitmore Girls Podcast.  I was already following Jasmin on Twitter and I’m not really sure how or why I started following her as I did not know about the podcast.  I found Episode 247 of the podcast seemed to be the first mention.  This is where the new phone enters the picture.  I know a few of the ladies in my knitting group are devoted podcast listeners but I had never quite figured out how to download them to my phone or other listening device.  My new phone seems to have many amazing features and with the popularity of podcast I figured listening to those had to be one.  I had a work road trip planned and decided to try out one episode to see how it worked and to see if I liked it.  I started with Episode 247 and it was wonderful! First I have to say that I really enjoy listening to Jasmin and Gigi – they are very well spoken and provide tons of really good information.  It felt like I was at one of my knitting groups except I was driving and not knitting which was kind of sad.  I was not surprised to hear the idea of #operationsockdrawer came from a picture that the wonderful Susan B. Anderson had posted on Instagram.  It was a picture of her sock drawer and it was amazing!!  Everyone should have a sock drawer that looks like that!  The goal is just to up the fun and variety of your sock drawer and I’m totally on board with that.  Plus, I have found that it is always a good idea to have a pair of socks on your needles because you never know when you might need a compact, easy to knit project.  And it’s a great way to use all that wonderful indie dyed yarn you can find on Etsy!

The art fair starts June 12th and I had one last pair to get off my needles and in my “drawer”.   I got those done and just dropped off my drawer.  This is a picture of what it was going to look like:

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I ended up changing the “drawer” at the last minute to something a little bigger so more of the socks could be seen.  The watermelon, red white & blue and gingerbread (pink and brown) socks are all yarn from Artistic Yarns by Abi – I’ve sang her praises in many blog posts.  The rainbow socks are from Lollipop yarn.  The candy corn yarn is from Knitterly Things (sadly the orange ran a bit when I washed them – they were extra cute when that was white 😦 )  The scarlet and grey socks are a yarn I bought in Seattle.  And the two pink/purple pairs are sock yarns I bought when I first started sock knitting.  The stripped pink/blue/purple pair was the first pair of socks I knit.  They almost were never finished because I started with 2 at a time on circular needles and that nearly killed me.

I’ve got some fun, new yarns waiting to be socks so I can’t wait to add to my sock drawer!

 

The Thrill of Victory

For a few months now a couple of the gals in my knitting group have been talking about Lollipop Yarn.  The colorways are beautiful and I was definitely interested.  The snag in the whole thing is that this shop releases new products on certain days and times (usually Sundays at 7 eastern time) and when the yarn is released it is snatched up in mere minutes.  I don’t have the fight for that type of aggressive shopping.  Black Friday and I are not friends and I spend the day inside decorating for Christmas.  And, I never remember to turn on the computer at the designated day and time to even attempt to buy it.

With that being said, last Sunday I actually remembered and decided to give it a go.  At least I would not be physically harmed attempting to buy the yarn…  I signed on around 6:55 and kept refreshing until the yarn magically appeared in the Etsy store.  I had been warned about cart jackers (my friend’s term) so did not stop.  Saw the Great Googly Moogly, put it in my cart and immediately checked out before someone could buy it out of my cart.  I have no idea how it all works but I didn’t look back and at the end was successful in my purchase.  Shopping as a blood sport just is not me!

Three days later there was a little package on my doorstep when I got home.  I was not sure if I was more excited about my new air conditioning (which I won’t be needing anytime soon) or the new yarn, probably the yarn…  I opened the box and found this lovely ball of yarn waiting for me!

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The colors are amazing!  The really cool thing about this yarn is the super clean color transitions.  She somehow manages to cut off one color before starting the other and avoids some of those weird brown/greys that come in self striping yarn.  I could hardly wait to get it on my needles but was having a busy week.  I did get a bit of a sock started.

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I can’t wait to get more done!  And with this snowy afternoon/evening I have a feeling that will be looking more like a sock by the time I head to bed tonight!

Knitting and the Olympics (or Two of My Favorite Things)

I first discovered the Olympic related events on Ravelry back in 2010.  I had no idea there was a whole competition (friendly) in which all these knitters chose projects and worked on them while watching the Olympics.  I was very excited.  Back in those days it was called the RavOlympics and I entered the WIP category.  I had started my first pair of socks in 2006 after a friend bought me a two at a time sock book.  Turns out I’m not a two at a time circular needle sock knitting kind of girl.  It made me want to tear my hair out so they sat and sat.  This was the perfect motivation to finish them.  It took me all the way through the OT in the US/Canada gold medal hockey game but I got them done.  And, I do love them!

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When the 2012 summer games rolled around I was signed and up and ready to go.  And then the USOC caused all sorts of trouble for us knitters by issuing the famous cease and desist letter.  Apparently RavOlympics was tarnishing the Olympic brand….  We knitters don’t quit and the event was renamed the Ravellenic Games. My excitement was doubled when one of the knitters from my LYS invited us to join her Olympic knitting group.  She has judges and everything and it’s super fun!  I made this beautiful shawl with some random alpaca and I love it!

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I even won a silver medal!  (It hangs proudly in my yarn room)

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So, here we are in 2014 and who knew how much controversy there would be surrounding both the real Olympics and the beloved Ravellenic Games.  I had joined the group and picked out my project.  For my birthday last year my Mom bought me this awesome self patterning stars and stripes yarn from Artistic Yarn by Abi and I knew it was the perfect project to make a pair of USA socks!    And then one afternoon I’m reading Twitter only to find out there is something going on with Ravellenic Games group.  I quickly popped over to Ravelry only to find the group gone from my list of groups.  I quickly found the “new” group and joined it.  While it was hard to tell exactly what happened it appears that the tensions associated with the Games being held in Russia had spilled over.  I applaud the former moderators of the group for all their hard work in the past and their attempts to deal with the issues this year.  I am thankful that new moderators were found to continue the games.  I appreciate their focus was solely on knitting and not the greater issues at hand.  We all know there are greater issues involved but I do not think protesting through a knitting event is going to help resolve anything.  And, I love all the rainbow projects I’ve seen at the Finish Lines!!!

Now, as to my project – the USA socks.  I started late into the Opening Ceremonies due to an unavoidable schedule conflict.  And I’ve been knitting and knitting to finish them and finally finished last night!!  However, it was not without injury.  I had to play through the pain and persevere.  There are more medals at stake in my local Olympic knitting group!!  I had been experiencing some hip pain recently and it turns out I have a hip pointer caused by too much knitting (or at least that’s my story…).  It’s actually caused by sitting cross legged which is how I knit and with the all the recent knitting it had flared up.  I applied some heat and carried on.  So, here’s the finished project!!!

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Go USA!!  We’ve got a couple of big days ahead and I’m happy to be cheering while sporting these socks!!