Saturday, January 31, 2015

FO: Red Hot Toe Up Socks

Can you get over this finishing streak? Earlier this week Morgan cocked her head to the side and said with no little bemusement, "It's not even February yet."

Don't worry kid, I got more coming.  February will be plenty busy.

Pretty sure the only thing sock blockers are good for is posing socks for photos.
Project Notes

Pattern: Double Gusset on Bottom Toe Up Sock by Carrie Ramirez
Yarn: Lion Brand Sock Ease Prints (I know, right?!) in the "Red Hots" colorway  (Don't judge, it was $3 on clearance and I am a sucker for orange.)
Needle: US 1.5 (2.5mm), 2 16" Knit Picks Circulars
Size:  68 sts, which in retrospect is probably 4 too many.  I used to knit myself 72 stitch socks. I'm not sure what happened there.
Started: November 23, 2014
Finished: January 31, 2015

I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy bind-off, and it performs exactly as advertised.  Overall, I would say that this was definitely a "positive toe-up experience."  I am not likely to become a full convert to toe-up socks, but my knitting pattern options just got a whole lot bigger.

See my Ravelry project page here for more pictures.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FO: Denver Cowl

As promised and predicted, I bring you another FO.  I got my Denver Cowl to within a row and the bind-off Sunday night before I decided I was too tired and went to bed.  So last night it was just a wee spot of K1,P1 and a bind-off that was looser than your mom on a Saturday night.

Have I mentioned the light is pretty good in my office?
 I tried to get some nice FO shots Monday night, but between the lighting and an unenthusiastic model who would frankly rather be reading...

It is a good book.  I can't hardly blame her.
I cast this cowl on on January 1 as part of my Intention setting for the year (that sounded funny, cast on on ... but you know what I mean) so I am really glad that I got it finished in a timely manner.  Begin as you mean to go on, etc.

It was also part of the Yarniacs' "Self Indulgent Knitalong" -- I would definitely count my first exposure to this delicious yarn (yarn I bought at my first SAFF) as self-indulgent.  We are pleased.

Project Notes

Pattern:  Denver Cowl, a free Ravelry download by Veronica Parsons
Yarn:  487 yards of Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein in the "Coffee Break" colorway (if ever there was a yarn made just for me...)
Needles:  US 8 (5.0 mm) ChiaoGoo 32" Circular
Size:  260 Stitch cast on (me sized)
Started: January 1, 2015
Finished: January 26, 2015

See my Ravelry project page here for more pictures.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Everything is Moving Just a Little Too Slowly

We are deep into remodeling and I am more than a little over it.  On the one hand the allure and romance of sleeping in the living room and not knowing where my pants are is starting to fade a bit.  On the other hand, I used a table saw for the first time yesterday. RAWR.  Other power tools I've wielded this weekend include a drill and an electric sander.  

The real hero of this story is Carl though. He's busted his tuchus all week long to get us this far.

This was taken on Friday.  Since then we've completely
finished laying the floor and cleared away most of the mess.
We're so close to done I can taste it.  And far enough away that I'm pretty sure that there will be boots in my bathtub forever.  (Actual boots in my actual bathtub -- that's not a euphemism for anything.  I ran out of places to stow stuff out of my closet.)

On the knitting front, I've been uncharacteristically monogamous (if by monogamous you mean "loyal to the same three or so projects, with a brief first date with a fourth" ... and I do.)  I finished up my Beer and The Voice socks earlier this week; I talk about them here.  Once they were done, I got my second Toe Up Gusset on the Bum Thingamer sock on the needles, and I'm about halfway up the foot.

I'm also so close to finishing my Denver Cowl that you can expect an FO post on it any day now.  I spent a fair number of hours today un-knitting and re-knitting part of the cowl.  I may or may not have uttered several unladylike phrases during this process.  I'd buggered up the (very simple) stitch pattern somehow and ended up needing to tink back 6 full rows of 260 stitches.   

It's all sorted now, but if I hadn't done whatever the frack it was I did, I would be reporting an FO tonight, instead of vague promises of "soon".

Progress is being Made... Slowly
Anyway, the end is in sight on any number of projects around here, but none of it is happening quite fast enough to suit me.   Why can't I knit faster while simultaneously sanding hardwood?  That's what I want to know.

Oh, I also cast on a pair of vanilla socks for Carl.  I don't really plan to work on them until my toe-up pair are done, but since the hard part of any sock (for me at least) is starting the damn thing, I figured this will set me up for purse knitting in February.  I cast on 84 stitches (which seems like a lot, but I'm a tight knitter.  I took actual measurements and did actual math... and I'm not afraid to rip it back if it's too many.  It's only knitting.)

I admit it, I don't gauge swatch for socks.
In unrelated, acquisition news, I picked up a package of "Edu-Tiles Play Mats" from Amazon to use for blocking.  I've been wanting some for a while now, so I'm excited to get them out and use them (that'll have to wait until my house is a little less rife with sawdust, I'm afraid.)   I also picked up some Brittany cable needles but I didn't get a picture of them.  

Delightful child not included.
So that's my week in a nutshell.  Last week I said I'd be talking about February is For Finishing today, but I think I'll hold off on that post until next Saturday, the 31st.  I prematurely made some February goals in my on-line knitting community and I've accidentally already completed two and a half of them.  My project list is a bit of a moving target right now.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

FO: Beer and the Voice Socks

Popping in with a mid-week post to announce that I've completed my "Beer and the Voice" socks.

My office has really good lighting,
but it looks like I should wipe down my desk.
These are plain-Jane vanilla top-down socks, knit according to a combination of the sock pattern that lives in my brain and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "A Good, Plain Sock" recipe.  I cast them on in December because I needed something I could work on while drinking beer and watching The Voice (hence the name).

Or as I overheard on the 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast this morning, "There's some knittin' that's for thinkin', and some that's for drinkin'."  (Or something like that).

Project Specs:

Yarn:  307.5 yards of ONline Supersocke 4-fach Walking-Color in the creatively named "1527" Colorway
Needles:  US 1.5 (2.5 mm) 5" DPNs
Size:  64 Stitch cast on (me sized)
Started: December 5, 2014
Finished: January 20, 2015

See my Ravelry project page here for more details and pictures.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Topsy Turvy

I'm writing this a day late due to Great Doings that are taking place in my house.

The husband and I decided to finally lay hardwood flooring down in our bedroom, which of course means that we had to completely empty it out, and then when we popped off the trim, the paint needed redoing and then...

Let's just say it's a big job, and it seems intent on growing every time I turn around.

In other news, my closet is apparently a TARDIS, and I am a Time Lord.  And nearly 14 years is a long time to spend folding time, space, and stuff into one small area.  It is my fervent hope, desire, and intention to put back less than I took out.

My poor husband's poor office.  Also I can't find my pants.
When I got home from work on Friday most of our bedroom was in our living room (there are yarn shelves in my kitchen -- which frankly is the least traumatic part of all of this, as far as I'm concerned...though I can see where others might disagree.  If by "others" you mean "my husband" ... and I do.)

This part is pretty nice.  Easy access!
Saturday was for hauling out the old carpet, finding staples and nails and pulling them out, and CLEANING.  Dang that was a lot of funk in that room.

Sunday was painting, and today I am at work whilst my dear husband is at home slaving away with laying down the floor.  (I have no pity.  He likes it.  And this is all his fault anyway.  So there.)

Cutting in the ceiling.  Like a boss.
You'd think that all of this industry would leave little time for knitting -- and mostly you'd be right.

I did finish the first of my Double Gusset on Bottom Toe Up Socks (pattern by Carrie Ramirez).

For NEW TECHNIQUE TUESDAY I discovered that Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off is both surprisingly stretchy and a bind-off.  Discuss.  (I don't think it was really a Tuesday, but I did try a new technique.  I used this tutorial, based on the article in Knitty Fall 2009.)

I also knit the second of my Beer and the Voice socks with a great deal of vigor.  So much vigor, in fact, that I earned over 2000 steps on my Fitbit.  Without a word of a lie I was sitting on my couch like a great lump (well, a great knitting lump) when the "You hit your step count!" buzzer went off.  I've never noticed that happening before, and all I can figure is that I was being REALLY REALLY PRODUCTIVE.

These socks are not going to last me on the needles until February -- I am thinking I'll need to cast on another Vanilla pair just so I have some good purse knitting.

I worked a bit on my Denver Cowl, but it basically looks exactly like it did last week... only wider.  I won't bore you with another picture until there's something to see.

Tune in next week for exciting news about February is for Finishing!  And maybe even a Finished Object, if my VIGOROUS sock knitting continues.

And maybe a finished bedroom too, please G-d.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I'm in Love

I am pretty much in love with what I'm working on right now.

Isn't that a great feeling?  Both the Denver Cowl and the Cosy Stripes blanket are just so lovely I can hardly stand it.

The Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein that I'm using for my cowl is soft and bouncy (which makes that damn K3Tog, YO, K3Tog into the same three stitches maneuver infinitely more doable), and the colors just make my heart sing.

It's full of browns, blacks, greys, creams, and the occasional flash of peach or ice blue.  I couldn't be happier.

I'm using Stylecraft DK (a 100% acrylic yarn that totally does not suck) for my Cosy Stripes.  I'm actually using the color-pack that the designer put together, and in the order that she did hers in.  I'm essentially crocheting it from a kit.  And I LOVE it.  The colors are perfect, and the yarn is really (surprisingly) soft and pleasant to work with.  The pack is available here, in case you wondered.   I did the math and the exchange rate worked out that the yarn was $2.60 per 100g ball, shipping included.  That is such a reasonable price.   It's pretty much as far from shopping local as I could get, but I'm still delighted with it.

So those are my two main projects -- both started on January 1.

I've also been plugging away at my socks.   I finished up one of my Beer and the Voice socks (just what it says on the tin -- I cast them on so I'd have something vanilla to work on when I need stupid knitting).  Anyway, Sock #1 is done, and in an effort to stave off the dreaded SSS, I immediately cast on its buddy.  I decided to go for fraternal rather than identical.  Mostly because I couldn't be arsed to pull out nearly 2/3 of the color repeat to find the place to start, and partly because I like to shake up my not-quite-but-almost obsessive need for things to be matchy-matchy.

The second sock starts with the blue.
I'm also almost ready to start the ribbing on the first of my Double Gusset Toe-Up socks.  I'm trying new things, and continuing my quest for what Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls once called a "positive toe-up sock experience."

It looks a little weird, but I couldn't get the sock to lay right on two circs.
Slight segue -- I used to hate toe-up socks because my short row toes and heels looked like ass and the heels were invariably too shallow to fit well.    Long time friends of the show will remember that I was experimenting with this as far back as 2011.  I've recently knit the Mystik Spiral socks by Josh Ryks which use a version of the OMG heel.  That actually fits quite nicely, and so far so do the Double Gusset socks.  My horizons are gettin' broadened over here, y'all.

Of course, as happy as I am with current projects I'm already planning for what's next.  I plan to cast on either Brickless or Trillian soon, and I'm about to go wind yarn for a Color Affection shawl.  I'll be using Cascade Heritage sock yarn.    Koren and Jess both also have fingering weight yarns in Yellow, Red, and Brown so we're planning a wee "along."  Koren very wisely pointed that red bleeds like nobody's business, so a bit of swatching is in order.  I never swatch for shawls because I'm a rebel that way, but I will for this one -- I don't want to finish the entire thing and end up with Red all over my Yellow.

And last but surely not least, one of these beauties is destined to become a pair of Rivendell socks.   The green one on the left is Knit Picks Hawthorne in "Laurelhurst".  The blueish grey to the right is Rain's Obsessive Stichery.  It's the Fred sock base, in the "Lake on the Mountain" colorway.   I picked it up at Fiber in the Boro last year.

Oh, and one last thing -- did you notice the project bags in a couple of my pictures?  They are Erin Lane bags that I picked up at SAFF.   I love them to pieces, and they've rather inspired me to get back into my sewing room and to do some project bag sewing of my own.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Ripply Goodness

GUYS! GUYS! GUYS!  I totally finished my Neat Ripple afghan!  After I wrote my last post I went home and powered through the last little bit, got the ends woven in and tidied and managed to raise my total 2014 yardage count to over 10K.  Dang.  (Most of that additional 2,000 yards weren't actually worked during 2014, I feel compelled to clarify).

It's about 39" x 72".  I used 1.5 skeins of 6 different colors of Knit Picks Brava (bought back in 2012, so it was all Turkish).  I used a size K hook, which was way too big.  By the time I realized it, I was in blood too far stepp'd, etc. so I just carried on.  Next time I'll use a smaller hook.   I still have some old school Brava in stash so arguably there could be a next time.

It's squishy and cuddly and warm and lovely and I'm delighted with it.

On January 1 my two besties and I all sat around my kitchen table for several hours talking, planning, day-dreaming, and setting our intentions for the year ahead.  We've been doing this together for something like 15 years now, and it's become an important part of my yearly cycle.  This year we added something a little new.  In my last post I mentioned that I planned to cast something off and to cast something on both on New Year's Day.    All three of us did that together as we talked.   Koren worked on her delicious Malabrigo Cowl and Jess finished up her Endpaper Mitts and some socks on New Year's Eve.

I finished the Grace Lace Beret that I was making for Morgan.  (I used Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool from stash, and Size 8 needles.)

Google+ made this "auto awesome" montage for me.  I couldn't resist.
I also decided to bail on a project that I wasn't loving, so I had two things finished (frogging is a kind of finishing, after all).

So this is what I started:

The Denver Cowl in Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein in the "Coffee Break" colorway (this picture does not do justice to how delicious this yarn is.  DEE LISH US), and the "Cosy Stripes Blanket" by Lucy of Attic24.   It uses 15 different colors, and so far it is making me deliriously happy to work on it.  Each stripe I add changes the overall look and it is delightful.

What are you working on?