Friday, October 02, 2015

Everything, All at Once

It's been another week of "pick up one project, knit two rows, put it down, and pick up another," here at chez woolly.

So pretty much business as usual, then.

In no particular order, I've been working on:

Carl's socks.  Remember last week I mentioned that I had the second sock on the needles at Morgan's band concert?   They've gone whoosh and I've just started the heel flap.

And speaking of socks, I decided to hurry up and get my Halloween socks on the needles sometime before the last week of October.  This is me, (almost) planning ahead.   I got this sock yarn at last year's Fiber in the Boro, so I rather wanted to get them cast on before we go again on the 24th.

That orange, tho!
The yarn is The Color Wheel Tuff Sock in the "Hoot" colorway.  If she's there again this year, I might have to snag me some more.

In non-sock related news, I've started another 3 Color Cashmere Cowl (henceforth to be known as the 3CCC, because I'm lazy).   I don't know why I think I need two of these, lest it be that it is both surprisingly fetching on, and fun to knit.  Okay, never mind.  When cast in that light, it's obvious why I need two.

This one is starting out with grays instead of browns.  So far I'm using Knit Picks Capretta in Caviar and Platinum.  I may shake it up a bit when the time comes to add more color.  We'll see.

Nurmilintu (remember Nurmilintu?) has also seen some action in the past couple of weeks.  I've been trying to balance starting new things with finishing up (or in some cases frogging) some older projects.  Nurmilintu is a keeper, so it has been put back into rotation.

I really like how it's turning out.  Morgan is doing one too (we're having the wee-est of alongs.  In fact, I think Koren just cast one on as well).  Anyway, Morgan is doing hers in Hawthorne Fingering, Her gauge is tighter than mine, and the yarn reads as a tonal rather than as a variegated, so the overall affect is quite different. I'll have to try to get a picture of them together for next time.

And speaking of working on old projects (you didn't think I was done did you?) I also hauled out my old Circles to Squares afghan.  The Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup will accept blanket squares as a finished object to turn in for classes.  That is serving as excellent motivation to work on it again.  I started this bad boy back in 2013. which makes it my second oldest WIP.

I'm maybe a third of the way done?
So that's (more or less) everything I've been working on in the last couple of weeks.  I'm trying not to be frustrated by my lack of focus and to just roll with it.  As long as I'm working on something just about every day I'm making progress.  And I surely have enough variety.  (Also, if last week's post is anything to go by, it isn't actually hurting my output any.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hey Long Time No Post or "Where the Heck Did September Go?"

Hey hey hey, friends, remember me?

There I was trucking along and posting just about once a week ALL YEAR LONG and then BAM!  I blink and five weeks go past.  That whooshing noise you just heard was the end of the Summer of 2015.  Gone now.

Anyway.  So when last we spoke, I was showing you the sweater I made Rowan (at his request).  I'm pleased to announce that he has worn it to school of his own free will and volition three or four times.  Dude is totally knitworthy.  (I told him that he couldn't put it on the floor, so he very carefully wadded it up in a lump on his bed.  He tried.)

Rather than try to catch up with a billiondy FO posts (and honestly the thought of that alone may have held me off from updating even longer.  One of those problems that only gets worse as you ignore it), I've decided to drop a great whack of pictures on you all at once, and then resume my regularly scheduled weekly blogging.

So brace yourselves.

This summer I made some project bags:

Left to right these are a gift for Koren, a gift for Jess, what happened to my favorite old flannel shirt, a paisley sock bag for me, because PAISLEY, and a bag I made as a prize for our last Stashdown round on Ravelry.

I'm still mostly making "knock-off" Erin Lane style bags.  I want to experiment with some other construction techniques.  But for now these are making me happy.

In fact, here's a better picture of the paisley one:

I have a predictable color palette, what can I say?
I also finished up some cowls.  These are the BFF Cowl (made in conjunction with the aforementioned Jess -- she did the red and I did the blue) and the Infinitude Cowl, which is going in the gift basket.

The BFF Cowl above only shows one of the two links that I knit.  For Jess' cowl I did a "Milkweed" stitch pattern, because she's an entomologist that studies butterflies, and I think I'm funny.

Jess' Link,Unblocked
I knit a sweater for wee Miss Bu.  I actually did this one before my accidental blogging hiatus.  This is what the veiled references to "and I'm knitting something else that I can't show you" were about earlier this summer.

That ribbon tho!

I finished up some socks.

Here's one of Carl's Big Dude Socks:

I'm into the leg of the second sock now.  In fact I worked on them last night at Morgan's band concert.

I also knit up some Rose City Rollers out of ancient and venerable stash.  Stash so old that the internet tells me it was discontinued in 2008.

It took every bit of one 50g ball of Knit Picks Simply Stripes yarn.  Which was perfect, because one ball is all I had.

Oh!  I also finished up Trillian (I told you I'd been busy).  This was my "Colors of Fall" knitalong project, so here are a couple of styled "Fall looks."  (I am not a "styled look" kind of lady).

It just happens to go with my Harvest Sweater from last year, so that's a win!

And of course, I can't forget Calcifer.  I'm playing in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup this term (long story, for another blog post), and I needed a wee representative of fire.  This is so going on my Christmas tree this year.

10 yards of Fire Demon Ferocity
I think that about catches us up.   And seeing it all in one place like this... DANG.  I have to say, that's a lot of knitting, yo.  I still have plenty of WIPs of course, but this has gone on more than long enough.  Besides, I need something to blog about next time, right?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FO: Long-Armed Sweater for a Young Dude of My Acquaintance

So after all that hand-wringing last week, I sat down and got the zipper installed into Rowan's sweater.  It was considerably less traumatic than I expected.  My last zipper/sweater experience was in 2008 in the much-lamented "Man Sweater."  It did not go nearly so smoothly back then.

Turns out, it really ain't no thing.

Pin early.  Pin often.

There are lots of great tutorials out there on how to install a zipper into hand-knits.  I read through this one (Chic Knits), this one (Knit Picks), and just for kicks this one (Techknitting -- this one involves knitting the zipper into the sweater).

And then I went home and just did it.    I pinned the zipper to one side, making sure it was smooth, and laying flat.  Then I pinned the other side, matching the stripes (not gonna lie, the stripes made it easier.)

Then I unzipped and rezipped it a coupla times, just to make sure it was all copacetic.

After that, I hand-sewed it in near the teeth, using a basic back-stitch.  I then used a whip-stitch to secure the zipper-tape down.

See those stitches?  No you can't, and that's the point.

On a sweater for me, I'd probably cover the tape with ribbon, but I didn't bother for this one.

I have no idea what he is doing here, but this is one of the least blurry shots I got of him.

So in summary, after nearly a year (and after knitting the body of the sweater twice -- remember that? -- Rowan's sweater is done and it fits.

And he likes it, so I don't need to make him eat it after all.

Anyway, over all I am very pleased with how it turned out.  In retrospect, I rather regret using Wool-Ease -- at the time my logic was that it's a) cheap and b) easy-care.  But Rowan would have gotten a nicer sweater if I'd gone a different route.  I hesitated to invest a lot into it because I really wasn't sure if this whole "wanting a sweater knit by my mom" thing was really going to last.  Oh me of little faith.

Next time he gets nicer yarn.  (At least, assuming this one doesn't end up covered in chocolate sauce and felted.  I've already given him the "bring it to me to launder or I will end you" speech.)

Project Notes

Pattern: Emilien by Ariane Caron-Lacoste
Yarn:  Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Denim and Natural Heather
Total Yardage:  1381 total yards.  632 in Denim, and 749 in Natural Heather
Needles:   US 7 (4.5 mm) and US 6 (4.0 mm)  I used several different lengths of circulars, and DPNs for the cuffs
Started:  September 28, 2014
Completed: August 11, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In Which I May or May Not Have Won Stash Dash

So! The knitting on Rowan's sweater is totally finished.

In fact, in further good news, it turns out that the length of zipper I needed was both standard and in stock at the local Joann store. (This was a spot of random and happy happenstance, as I lengthened the ribbing at the bottom.  If I hadn't done that, I would have needed a non-standard zipper length.)  I was able to run in last night after work and grab exactly what I needed, no muss.

In potentially less good news: turns out I need to get that puppy installed by Friday.  I was under the impression, and I am not actually sure where I got this idea, that as long as the knitting was done I was good to go for Stash Dash.

Turns out maybe not so much.  Something was nagging at my to double check the rules (probably my innate fear of public humiliation) and I ran across this little gem from The Stash Dash Empress herself, Lala.

In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, "Well, dang."

If I can work some zipper magic by Friday, my Stash Dash total is 3274 m.  So I've either won... or I haven't.

I guess I'd better get my zipper groove on, eh?

Meanwhile Trillian and Carl's big dude sock are both still in progress and still growing.  More pictures next time.   For now just go back to last week's picture and add a couple of inches in your imagination.

Anybody know a good zipper installation tutorial?

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


It's still all sweater all the time here at chez woolly.  And while I recognize that weeks of updated shots of the same knit aren't any fun for you, dear readers, it's no picnic from where I'm sitting either.

Last Saturday saw the completion of Rowan's second sleeve.  When I did the first sleeve I popped a removable stitch-marker at every decrease (following the excellent example of Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls.)  The markers, in combination with a 22 row stripe, meant that the second sleeve went "Whoosh!" -- I didn't need to pull the tape measure (or the pattern) out at all, I just matched the second sleeve to the first, comparing markers and stripe row counts, et voila. Sleeve!

The dude approves.

Once I got him to try it on and we didn't have use our imaginations to add in the sleeves anymore, it was easy to see that a collar wasn't going work.   See how loose and low the front of the sweater is hanging? The collar would have just made the sweater look like it didn't fit.  (Also, I want you to know that it is taking every ounce of my maturity and will-power, not to mention that fact that we're talking about my kid, to keep me from making a "your mom" joke right here.  Loose and low.  I'm just.  I can't.)

So anyway, after some discussion we decided to add the hood after all. And by "discussion," please understand that I mean that I said, "Hey we should do the hood, I think a collar would look weird," and he just shrugged and blinked at me. 

Whatever.  I do what I want.

What the heck else was I going to do with leftover Wool-ease anyway?

Don't fret though, hood notwithstanding, I'm still on track to be done in time to count the yardage for Stash Dash on the 14th.   I'm about half done the hood, and then it's "Pick up approximately nine-billion stitches and K2P2 rib for three years or one inch...whichever comes first."

So no problem.  And man, it's a good thing I just read back through this before I published.  Do I look like the kind of knitter that would throw down a gauntlet like "no problem" in front of the Knitting Goddess when I'm on a deadline?  Nosirreebob.  I am cautiously optimistic.  At best.

In non-sweater related news, I've done some more work on Trillian and Carl's sock.  They both look exactly like they did before, only more so.  

I could not get the color and light right the day I took these pictures.

Okay, so I might have lied before.  I may have stepped out on the sweater just a little.

On Saturday I cast on my birthday Hitchhiker in some Wollmeise Twin that I had marinating in the stash.   

Gratuitous yarn pic. 

I'm not far into it yet, but I wanted to get it on the needles on August 1.   I turn 42 in a couple of weeks, and I can't think of a better way to mark the occasion.

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Friends reassure me that knitting the same pattern four times is not actually excessive.  Though in a few of their cases I think it may have been an "if this is wrong baby, I don't want to be right" kind of situation.

Monday, July 27, 2015

When Your Stash Dash Strategy Lands You in Sleeve Purgatory

Stash Dash is officially over on August 14 -- which is a little less than 3 weeks away.  I currently have 2256 yards (that's 2063 m), so I'm about a 1000 meters shy of a 3K.

I realized this earlier this week, and (you will all be so proud of me) instead of casting on the half-a-jillion new things that I'm dying to work on, I took myself to my spreadsheet (remember my spreadsheet?) and decided that what this Stash Dash needs is a strategy.

Note to Self:  have strategy revelation a month before next Stash Dash starts, not a month before it ends.

So, I took stock of how much time was left, and what I already have on the hooks and needles.

I needed a project that would be over a thousand yards when completed, but is already close enough to done that I can pull it off in three to four weeks.

Maybe something that only need a couple of sleeves, a button or a zipper band, and a collar.

Something like Rowan's Emilien sweater, maybe.

Besides, if I don't finish it quick he'll grow again.  That child is forever tall, and has arms that go on for miles. Yesterday I messaged my bestie Koren about my sleeve lamentations.

Please ignore my egregious spelling/typo error.
She was very sympathetic.  

Anyway, last Tuesday Rowan's sweater barely had one sleeve started.  As of last night, it has one full sleeve and the second sleeve is barely started.

I feel good about my chances ::touch wood::

When he was last polled, Rowan opted for a zipper (instead of buttons) and a collar (instead of a hood).  I'll ask one last time when the second sleeve is installed, but not knitting a hood in this thing sure doesn't hurt my feelings any.

In other knitting news, Carl's Big Dude Socks are growing (again).

#bigsocksforbigfeet #itmustbelove
I have them in my purse for those moments when you need to take the edge off, and a giant sweater just won't do.

Friday, July 24, 2015

FO: Stick a Fork in It Socks

#operationclearthesockneedles has net me two new pairs of socks so far.  Or well, one pair was for Morgan, but anyway, I've finished two pairs.

Of course those where the two pairs that had the first sock done, so. 

These are Lara Neel's Fork in the Road socks.  She offered the pattern for free when her book Sock Architecture came out.  It has a "new to me" heel and toe construction, the "thumb-joint hat top" heel and toe (the name of which I can NEVER get right, no matter how many times I try to say it.  I keep calling it a thumb-top hat-trick heel.)

That heel, tho
I digress.

I learned some really interesting things with these socks - when I first cast them on, I was using a 9" circular (that was the first thing I learned...I don't care for tiny circs for socks) so I couldn't try them on.  I cast on 64 stitches, which is my usual with a 1.5 (2.5mm) needle.  Once I got the first heel installed I had a moment of panic, regret, and cussing because I thought I'd made the dang things too small.   Turns out I just didn't knit the heel deep enough before starting the decreases.  Having a heel that was too shallow made the entire sock feel too small.  All I ended up having to rip back was the tip of the heel.   I made the "gusset" deeper and Bob's yer uncle, they fit.

The pattern is written with what Charlene Schurch calls a "fore-thought heel."  I'm allergic to provisional cast-ons, and find fore-thought heels really fiddly.  So I did a "mid-thought" heel.  I put in a rip-cord and came back after about an inch or two and installed the heel.  

Doing it this way (instead of just waiting until the end like a normal person) means that I have more information about fit when I start the toe, since I can try the sock on once the heel is installed.

I find afterthought heels (whenever you end up installing them) kind of fussy, but I sure do like how they work with self striping yarn.   Over all I'm giving this pattern "A+, would knit again."

I think Morgan agrees.  I asked her to model for me this morning, and she hasn't taken them back off.

Pattern Notes:

Yarn: Jarbo Garn Mini Raggi, in the "68103" colorway
Total Yardage: 294 yards
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5 mm) (I switched needles a couple of times on this project.  Started with a Hiya Hiya 9" circular, ended with 5" Knitter's Pride DPNs)
Started: April 7, 2015
Completed: July 18, 2015

Current Stash Dash Standing: 2256 yards