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

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Happy Panathenaia

Yesterday was a day of adventures here at chez woolly.  We observed Panathenaia and then split up -- the ladies went to the market at SSK over at Scarritt Bennett, and the dudes headed off to McKay's to drop off some books and look for treasures to bring home.

Panathenaia is a festival that was held in the month of June in honor of Athena.  "Festival" in our case means "picnic."   We took a packed lunch up to Centennial Park and ate together after going to the conveniently local Parthenon.

We tend to be an informal lot, most of the time; we don't have specific rituals or prayers that we do for Panathenaia -- it's more about taking the time to be present in Athena's temple (and by present, I mean awake, paying attention, listening, and really being there).

Friends of the show will remember that my decision to learn to spin was prompted by Athena.   I need to continue with that process, take the Craftsy class that a dear friend gifted me, and just spend time with my wheel.  

Several of us spent time knitting in the temple before heading off to lunch.

For me, it's a way of honoring Athena as a Goddess of Fiber Arts.

I often think of Athena, and ask her blessing when I'm practicing my crafts.  She inspires me to try harder, seek excellence, to do my best work, and to move outside of my comfort zone and learn new things.

After lunch, our fiber adventures continued over at the market for the Super Summer Knit-together, a retreat held by the Knit Girllls in Nashville every year.   They had the market open to the public from 1-4 p.m. so off we went.

I did a little damage.

So, to sum up:  yesterday was awesome.

This is already forever long, so I'll keep my update on "this week's projects" brief.   I've worked on my Fork in the Road socks (and in fact, finished them yesterday, so a FO post will be forthcoming), Carl's socks, the super-sekrit thing I'm not talking about, and I picked up Trillian and then set it right back down.  I don't think I actually added any stitches to it.  I just held it a minute.

Sam the Griffin (I just now decided that his name is Sam) was very gracious in holding our socks for photographs.  He's very patient.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

FO: Dark Rainbow Cowl

So, earlier this summer Jess, Koren, Morgan and I met up with some friends who live in the internet at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival.  This was the first year we went, and it was a blast.  It was kind of a small festival, but there were some awesome vendors and the company (my besties and the aforementioned internet friends) was fantastic.

Anyway, at the Haus of Yarn's Yarn Bus (they totally have a bus.  Full of yarn.  Awesome.) I ran across a Wonderland Yarns/Frabjous Fibers gradient set.  They had a sample cowl knit up, and friends it got me.  I saw the sample, bought the kit and Boom! instant cowl.  Those Haus of Yarn ladies know their business.

The yarn is a lovely, squashy sport weight wool.  The pattern is designed for lace weight mohair.   This is one of those times that being able to see beyond what the designer intended is a really valuable skill.   I'm really good at executing on someone else's creativity; I can take a good idea and riff on it like nobody's business.   But I'm not always great at seeing the possibilities of changing fiber type or gauge, or hell.... this is such a simple change (five sport weight merino solids instead of one mohair lace weight), and it looks like a completely different project.

All of which is to say, I saw the project, bought the yarn, and knit it up.  Friends of the show will recognize how unusual that is for me... and heck, I did it all within months (not years) of buying the yarn.  

Go me!

Now, the less good news.  It occurred to me... a little late (like, when I was ready to block) that red can bleed, and yellow is a pretty darned pale color.  I tried to check for bleeding.

Highly scientific methodology

And my early tests seemed to indicate that I was gonna be okay.  And by "early tests" I mean "I stuck a bunch of scraps in warm water in a clear cup and watched."   Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anyway, I didn't see any bleeding in my little yarnish microcosm, so I went for it... and (you know where I'm going with this don't you?) yeah.  It bled.

My awesome, gorgeous yellow is now... splotchy.

I wish I had done a citric acid soak (as described by Jasmin of the Knitmore Girls) before I started.  I further wish that a) my husband wasn't violently allergic to citric acid and b) the frickin' yarn would have been color fast in the first damn place.

Ah well, it isn't very obvious when I'm wearing it (or at least I don't think it will be.  It's July in Tennessee, so I've only had it actually on my personage for approximately 45 seconds before I had to take it back off).   But even so.  I'd be happier if it hadn't bled to begin with.

Ultimately I'm happy with it, and I can see me wearing it a lot during the winter months.  The bleeding was a hell of a bummer though.

Project Notes

Total Yardage: 430 yards
Needles:  US 8 (5.0 mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps, interchangeables
Started: June 6, 2015
Completed: July 10, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

One Bite at a Time

I'm still doing that scattershot thing I was doing a few weeks ago, where I am working on a bajillion things at once.  If by "a bajillion" you mean "like three or four."  And I do.  It seems to be working for me though, since all three projects that I was working on back then are finished now.

This time I'm bouncing back and forth between my pink Fork in the Road socks, pattern by Lara Neel,

Two heels, no waiting.

Carl's Big Dude Socks (which have done some unfortunate regression due to size and fit issues),

The opposite of progress.

My Colors of Fall KAL Trillian, pattern by Martina Behm.

I'm a little farther along than this, I'm recycling old pictures.
#lazy #imbloggingfromwork #fightme

and a fourth thing that I can't show just yet because it's giftish.  Yeah, I know.  "I'm knitting a thing that I can't show you, or describe, or even talk about" does not make for exciting blogging.  On the bright side, it's moving quickly enough that I'll either finish it fast and be able to post it, or lose focus entirely and it won't matter.  (That's me, redefining the silver lining since 1973).

Speaking of progress, our floor is still coming along nicely.  I'm back at work, but Carl is soldiering on and has all of the puttying and last I heard most of the sanding done.  There is even a chance that a coat of finish went down today.  

This was taken before the bulk of the sanding was done.

Meantime everything in my house is covered with a fine layer of sawdust.  When I got home on Tuesday it looked like Carl had aged 30 years.  His hair and beard were a much paler blonde. That night the dust was falling fast enough that I decided I'd better eat my bowl of ice cream quick if I didn't want it garnished with a fine mist of red oak.

Things continue to proceed apace.  The living room project seems to be so much less stressful that our bedroom was last winter, for which thing I am grateful.  I do miss my couch though.

In any case, this week's theme seems to be something along the lines of that old adage, "How do you eat a whale?"

"One bite at a time."

(Or possibly, "With Tabasco"... one of those.)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

FO: LUC Socks for Morgan

In between, around, during, and after all the remodeling going on around here, I've found a surprising amount of time to knit.  If I sit down for ten minutes, that's 3 minutes I'm checking Ravelry and sending Koren and Jess pictures of progress, and 7 minutes I'm knitting.

All of that industry allowed me to complete Morgan's new "LUC Socks" earlier this week.

Our grass is really a little high for this.  I swear we just mowed.
In case you're wondering what the heck an "LUC Sock" is, LUC is the "Lectora User Conference" -- it was in Nashville this year, and if you remember I cast these on specifically so I would have something to do while attending break-out sessions.

The first one flew off the needles but then I saw something shiny I guess (you know how it is) so the second pair languished for a bit.

Proud owner of a new pair of socks
These are plain-Jane vanilla socks, no muss.  The fanciest thing about them is the 1x1 rib I started them with.  (I have no idea why 1x1 ... I was on auto-pilot when I started the first one.  I normally default to 2x2, so I'm not sure where my brain was.)

The glamorous life of a sock model...trying to get grass off of her new socks.
Morgan likes them, they fit, and all is well.   #operationclearthesockneedles is well underway.

Project Notes

Pattern: Standard top-down vanilla sock, CO 64 stitches.  Loosely based on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's "A Good Plain Sock Recipe."
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Merino in the evocative "2152" colorway
Total Yardage: 285 yards
Needles:  US 2 (2.75 mm) Knitter's Pride DPNs
Started: April 28, 2015
Completed: July 9, 2015

Current Stash Dash Standing: 1664 yards (1521 meters)

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

At Least There Are No Boots in My Bathtub

We're deep in the throes of another remodeling project, friends.  Remember back in January when Carl and I installed hardwood floor in our bedroom?   Well we're at it again, but this time in the living room, hall, and (let us not forget) the coat closet and the linen closet.

Just like last time, we had to clear the room first, pull out the carpet, clean, clean again, and then paint.  Unlike last time, we had seven floor-to-ceiling bookcases and their attendant books to clear out first.  Y'all we started that part back in May.  We have way too many books to be putting that off until the last minute.

I just realized I'm not sure where my television is.

Anyway, I've taken a week off from work, and Carl and I (and the kids too, they've been helping) are kicking so much ass.

We painted Friday and Saturday and then started laying the floor on Sunday.   We're nearly done the main room, and just have the back of the living room, down the hall and the closets to do.

Of course once it's all down there's the sanding, more sanding, finishing, sanding again and more finishing to do.

Morgan is getting a head start on the sanding job.

This seems to be going so much faster than the bedroom job did.  I'm not sure if it's because Carl and I both have the week off (which, okay that does make sense), or because we're better at it, or what.  But after spending three weeks this winter with boots in my bathtub (still not a euphemism), I'm sure glad this is going so much easier.

::knocks new floor::

On the knitting front, my Dark Rainbow Cowl is completely done save the final kitchener.  I just need to get the stuff out to do it.  I'll talk about it more when I do the FO post.

I've gotten Rowan's sweater out and found my place in the pattern.  I didn't really do more than add about four rows to one sleeve though.

Morgan's LUC Socks are at the "all down hill from here" place -- past the heel on the second sock.

And speaking of socks, I did some counting and I have six pairs of socks on the needles right now.

Six.   Now, I've sworn off project guilt, so I'm not gonna make too much of a fuss, but I am going to be a giant copy-cat and declare a #operationclearthesockneedles (with apologies to ndjen04 AKA the Commuter Knitter, whose idea I am shamelessly ripping off).

I'm not saying I'll knit nothin' but socks, but I am going to make a concentrated effort to knit my way through this pile.

That there is a handsome pile of socks.

Starting at the upper left hand corner, and moving clockwise around, this is:  Carl's Big Dude Socks, Morgan's LUC Socks, my Fork in the Road Socks, my L'il Pumpkin Socks, my Pink Monkeys, and #lovewins.

I'm having flashbacks to my first Ravelympics (back when we were still calling them the Ravelympics).   I've been down this road before, is what I'm saying.

And heck, it all counts towards my Stash Meander anyway.

And last but not least, I cast on Trillian out of my Madelinetosh Twist Light in the "Care" colorway.  Proceeds from the yarn went to support Doctors Without Borders.

This is my entry in the yarniacs' Colors of Fall KAL -- this yarn basically looks like someone threw the entire 2015 palette in the dye pot.

See what I mean?