Well all the shows are now complete, it’s been an absolutely crazy two months. I feel pretty burned out from all the prep-work of getting these shows together so I haven’t been working on too much knitting. There have been a lot of mundane things like cleaning the house, restocking the cabinets, a lot of meal prep for the next couple months. I’ll write about that on a Thursday though, I am way too proud of myself to keep that from you!
I have been working on socks, of course, what else would I be working on? The purple gradient sock I dyed is starting to knit up nicely, the colour-shift near the toe is a bit harsh, but we will see what it looks like on the other one. I would post photos of it but Paul has ABSCONDED with my knitting yet again.
I should be fair, this is the sock that I keep in the car. I always knit on it when we are in transit from one place to another. I don’t know if I have mentioned, but Paul and I work at the same office. The other day, he had some training at another office location. This presented something of a problem because we drive to work together; I would have no way home. Thankfully there was someone there who goes home the same way as me and she was able to give me a lift. The crucial part of this story comes when I went out to the car to grab my knitting, so I could knit on my lunch break. Paul had left a half hour before I thought he was going to, so he went to do this training with my knitting in tow.
Instead of sitting and knitting on my lunch break I was now sidelined to surf instagram and the like. Which leads to online shopping, which leads to stash enhancement, which leads to needing a larger house. Let’s just say there is no good ending here! When my knitting friend came across me and noticed I was NOT knitting, I had to inform her about Paul ABSCONDING with my knitting bag.
As I write this post, Paul has taken the car with the knitting in it. I guess this is the downside of car knitting. There usually isn’t a great time when you’re in the car to take photos, but when you want to show off your work, you have to make sure you’re able to grab it out of the car. I am sure this sock will be completed soon and I’ll be able to show FO photos of at least one sock!
I also wanted to mention a couple of prospective projects I am thinking about. I heard about this one on the Knit1Geek2 podcast. A Little Knit Music by Julia Blake. This is a sweater that you knit the treble clef into the yoke of the sweater and put beads where the notes would be. The best part is, they actually make up a melody. As Maggie and Karen suggested, you could knit your own adventure with a melody that means something to you. Their suggestions fell on the geek side, which I heartily approve of, but you could really do it with just about any song!
I also want to get going on a couple hats I have the yarn for. I’ve had this yarn for two years and have been meaning to knit up fair isle hats, but just haven’t had the time or motivation. I’ve got short hair now and it doesn’t cover my ears. I am thinking hats will be an essential staple of my wardrobe this year. I have a few different patterns that I am going to try out. I am going to do two of the Four Seasons hats by Tanis Fiber Arts and give the Whale Watch hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn a try as well. Those are just a couple that I have picked out of a line up. I have sooooo many saved in my Ravelry library, I feel like this will be a slippery slope.
I am completely and totally on fire so far this year. Although now that I have said that… I am sure things will slow right down, but alas, it is exciting to be done Shauna’s Mittens!
I think this is the fourth time I have knit this pattern, and I love it more every time. I originally came across it in a kit where the designer Hello Yarn and Tanis Fiber Arts were working together! When I finally picked up this kit it was a true and everlasting love that has still not ceased.
Impatient person that I am, as soon as I finished, I instagramed the photo to Shauna and immediately got more than one person asking about their pair. On one hand, I thought ‘oohhhh, maybe I shouldn’t have posted that photo’ but on the other I love these mittens and want to share that love with the world!
I’ve also been making some major headway on my January socks that I want to complete from #OperationSockDrawer on instagram. If you’re unsure what that is, head on over to the Knitmore Girls podcast for details. I have been hardcore binging on those episodes and I am quite close to being caught up! The yarn I am using for these socks was a limited time colour way called ‘Over the Rainbow’ from Knitcircus; they might not be offering this particular colour way anymore, but the yarns are lovely!
If I haven’t ever endorsed participating before, I would like to take a moment to now. On instagram, Ravelry, twitter, facebook or any kind of platform you wish! I look at everyone else’s photos of socks and sock drawers and I am so inspired! I absolutely want to go and cast on about 100 more things. I know that I have not run any knit alongs, but the Stitch Please Ravelry group doesn’t have all that many members and there are groups out there much larger doing extremely excellent knit or crochet alongs. I highly endorse participating in these because while you are inspired to do better and create, you are also inspiring someone else. No matter that you are only one person! There is someone somewhere looking at a photo you posted and thinking what you made is pretty darn cool. Seriously, if you take away one thing from this blog let it be this. Engage! Participate! It’s pretty amazing and good for the soul in general.
I finished the haaaat! It was a really great knit because there are miles and miles of stockinet stitch. I find what I am knitting really reflects my state of mind and when I don’t have a lot of mind to spare I like easy things.
This hat was perfect for being off sick and just knitting plain rounds. It went a lot faster than I thought it would. The total length of the hat is 14 inches, which seems really extreme, but makes the perfect slouchy hat. The pattern is called Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure and it is my favourite slouch hat pattern so far!
I’ve also been working on Shauna’s mittens. I think I started them in the beginning of last year and let them languish over the summer. When you finish a pair of mittens for someone and it is hot outside, it really doesn’t have the same effect. I have been gradually working on them here and there to finish them off while it is still cold outside. I have the outside of both mittens completed and blocked; the lining never takes a really long time to complete. Hopefully I will have them done for her within the week!
I’ve been thinking about what I am going to work on next and I really want to finish off my Grandmother’s sweaters. I realized I had started a sleeve a while back because I have done two back pieces and have started the front of one. If I had the sleeves finished, it would seem a lot closer to being done than it actually is. I hope to really buckle down and work at least a couple rows every day until it is done. I was thinking about having an easy project and before I get to work on the easy project, I have to complete a few rows of the sweaters first.
Does anyone else have to trick themselves into doing things they should, or is it just me?
I was emailing the designer of this pattern the other day and I realized that I had not reviewed it yet. For me this is utterly inexcusable and I plan to make it right! This pattern came to me as part of a kit. The yarn and pattern were all packaged together. Unfortunately, these kits are no longer available, so you would have to buy the pattern and the full amounts of the yarn individually. Which I have done because I love this pattern that much.
The first time I saw this kit, the LYS owner handed me a sample mitt that she had knit. At that point I was completely and totally sold. I LOVED it and wanted to get one in every colour. Unfortunately at this point in my life I was just out of school and was struggling to pay student loan payments as well as rent. I couldn’t afford it this time, but I went back and visited… more often than I would like to admit.
I was also scared that I wasn’t at that level of knitting yet; they looked to pretty and intricate, I had never some something that complicated before. So it wasn’t completely about the money.
Paul ended up making the decision for me and bought the kit for my birthday. I think he had probably heard enough about these mittens I was lamenting over.
I didn’t cast on right away; I circled around them like some kind of nuclear bomb. My main problem was, I didn’t want these mitts to go FUBAR on me. It was a nice kit and more than I had spent on yarn before. I wanted them to be perfect. The thought of casting on with another, more inexpensive yarn, never occurred to me. I was still a relatively new knitter at this point.
Paul started asking me why I hadn’t cast them on yet. I made excuses here and there about needles or another project, but that would only work for so long. One day, I just closed my eyes, clenched my teeth and opened the bag. Which was the best decision I have ever made. It was the most difficult pattern I had ever done, but it was well written, clear, logical and a great learning experience for me.
The mittens start off with an I-cord cast on, Having never done one, I trusted the pattern completely and followed the instructions. The cast on looked amazing and it hadn’t hurt at all. I thought these mittens might be possible.
Being a beginning knitter and not knowing any better, I trusted the pattern 100% and it worked out for me. Not having knit a whole lot of patterns I didn’t realize how well this one was written, but having a wider variety of knowledge now, I can spot excellent writing when I see it.
I may have a slightly biased point of view because this project was a pivotal moment for me as a knitter. From this point on I was not afraid to throw myself into any project regardless of how hard it looked. If I took it slow and paid attention I could do it.
I know this review was a little less technical and a little more about me fan-girling all over them, but, I maintain that they are a very well written pattern with a beautiful finished product. Definitely beginner friendly so I always advise people to go for it! These mittens are one of the most complemented pieces of knitting I have.
Today is a little bit of Monday Mishaps and Technical Tuesday mixed together. A while back, when I was knitting quite a few Fair Isle sweaters, I was really into colour work. I’ve done mittens, sweaters and all manner of garments in Fair Isle. This also means I have made my fair share of disasters with colour work.
When you make a mistake in a colour work pattern, it is usually pretty obvious; there is a pixel the wrong colour, so to speak. I will drop the stitch and go down to fix it if I can, but there are times when you can’t just make an easy fix that way. There are times when you just have to rip it out and ripping out colour work is just not fun.
The first time I ripped out a couple rows for a Fair Isle sweater I got the multiple colours of yarn hopelessly tangled. You almost need one person to do the ripping and one person to do the balling. If you don’t, the mountain of fiber before you will turn into something monstrous or it will just take you forever to complete.
When doing this by yourself, I recommend ripping out an arm’s length of stitches, then balling them. If you do much more than that you’re bound to get criss crossed. I had to rip out part of Paul’s special request sweater and untangling the yarn was a nightmare, especially since there were so many. I think there were something like five colours in his sweater, they weren’t all happening at the same time but at the point I ripped it out there were more than two.
You don’t always have to totally rip out your colour work either, there is always a chance you can drop down and change the stitch colour. I wrote a previous post about that here.
This post ended up being a little shorter than I anticipated, so I will regale you with a story about two colour knitting. I have a knitting bowl for my yarn, it’s exactly what it sounds like; a bowl you put yarn into. When I am doing two colour knitting, I can only put one colour in the bowl because it is just not big enough to accommodate two. Usually this bowl is situated in the living room with all my other knitting paraphernalia; I do a lot of knitting on the couch in front of the TV. The cats usually wander by and demand I pet them a little bit, but not too much; can’t mess up the fur. I have three and two of them cuddle up with me while I knit, but the other one is much more aloof. She will usually sit at the end of the couch while I knit, or on the floor.
While I was knitting this sweater for Paul, she kept getting closer and closer. I thought she may have finally been getting over her antisocial behaviour, you know, trying to associate a little more. Then she casually popped up onto the coffee table, grabbed my ball of yarn in her mouth and started to run away with it. I can’t even express how funny this was in the moment; it was like she was a cartoon character. It was that perfectly laid out. I had to chase her down and get my yarn back, and she maintained this interest in the yarn for the rest of the project. I think the Eco Plus yarn from Cascade must have smelled especially sheepy to her sensitive nose.