Bad decisions and more socks

So the Finished project I am featuring today took me nearly a year to complete and not a single bit of it was the fault of the pattern.  So let’s just jump in to how I made some poor decisions that still ended up looking amazing!

I found this amazing flame orange tonal yarn with gold sparkle thread in it at the yarn stores sales bin (yes, I am still thrifty).  There were two skeins; one perfectly presentable and one more of a loose almost tangle. It was color saturation love.  Check this out:

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Inspired by the gold I decided the ideal choice was finding some solid gold colored beads.  I looked high and low and there were lots of options in semi-transparent golden beads and I bought some but still…. this needed the solid gold bling and I went online and found some metal seed beads and based on the listed hole dimension I thought they were roughly a 6/0 bead.  They were not.  They were more like an 8/0 bead and that made putting them on a heavier than fingering weight yarn was a significant challenge… as in get out your beading pliers and pull your wired yarn loop through the hole at times challenging.  So when I found I’d made a mistake in a beaded row… the project spent some time in the WIP pile to think about what it had done.  I mean really?!

On the plus side when I did go back to restart my project I had apparently forgotten that before I put it in time out, I’d apparently pulled back the bad row and so I didn’t have to do that when I restarted.  YAY!

But wait!  There is more.  Beads are sold by weight and so what I thought was a reasonable quantity based on my prior experience buying glass seed beads turned out to be about 3+ times as many as I actually needed, and so in eyeballing the bind off options… I liked the bubbled version and figured I had enough beads I might as well bead my bubbled bind off.  Of course I forgot all about how long picot style bind offs actually take and so by the end of day one binding off I was rather far more ready to be done than actually done!  So without further ado… here’s some beauty shots of my version of Bubbles and Baubles which based on the color I called Pele’s Bauble.

And yes.. I did say there were more socks.  Which is the round three from Sock Madness pair (yes I was out but I finished these before Round Four pattern showed up so its a win in my book) and my between rounds Günter from the Op-Art socks book. I’m now at pair 5 of the 19 patterns completed.

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Toasting Time

Having looked back through my email order confirmations…. I ordered this quilt kit back in November of 2016.  Its just 36 blocks, so it really shouldn’t take nearly 36 months but… that’s how time goes I guess, I did get my blocks finished and assembled so now its just a border and backing.

ExNvOpHr99NqqCLPPcCldFoG47I9LGLcZgg8MkGkEn9_PpTi8yDkflPmvpgo_L2v8J227abJxl6l5DDIDTyNCweIQEO7NBnWZy_XOjTPTR5qKdmJKQGWSHMsqBDfJGvF_ANJXe5YrYNGGnJbYxaNguCVxa0MljLw3o1XFyQkDdhrKPlvUy22Jw3n1qDKQnUWeXujdPkDsKzbDfjSkVsZjpnvDYn9Owpk

On the plus side it was bought to learn paper piecing and well I can say I have learned how and its not my favorite.  Though some of that may be due to choices I made.  For example, you can buy lighter specialty papers for copying your blocks.  I just used a copy machine and ye ole standard A4 letter size.  My main issue though is it feels wasteful.  The quantity and size of scraps using this technique seems large and then there is all the paper.  Which at least I can recycle the paper once I get it all off, which is my next project step.

For fun… here’s the backside with the papers and the original design layout the quilt came with.  I inverted the light and dark sides to come up with my layout.

In other news Sock Madness has been a bit rocky going this year.  In Round Two I made a rather major mistake in chart reading and though I did manage to squeak into Round Three there was much family related travel and so I was out.  Now its just knitting for the fun of it.  I’m half finished with my next pair and its the start of the yarn tour so… signs are pointing towards more yarn in the near future.  But I really DO need to finish a few of these quilts!

Happy Pi(e) Day!

This is not a post about Pi or pie, and in fact when you wind a ball of yarn you tend to call it a cake, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share in the celebration of round food with crusts.

I have been traveling and knitting… I technically managed to finish all the knitting and seaming on my Guston sweater and even blocked it out, but then left the state and the poor thing is currently languishing in need of some buttons.  Hopefully this month.

Between Guston and my travels I knocked out my first ever Tea Cozy!

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I didn’t much follow a pattern, but whipped it up using a simple short row circle, then knitting each side with a K3, Sl1 on the WS and Knit all on the right side.  This yarn has silly loops of vivid threads that pop out and I’d not really found a perfect project for it… but yarn cozy with silly oversize bead flower buttons seems to work and that’s one cozy down in my cozy KAL I am hosting over on Rav.

As is tradition for the start of March… its the start of Sock Madness and travels and headcolds can not hold me back too much… so I’ve knit up my qualifier pair!

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This design stitch technique is called smocking and uses the yarn to wrap certain stitches to make the design.  You can do it using a cable needle, but its a different technique from cabling altogether as you do not actually rearrange the stitch order.  This round finishes on Sunday, so I’ve got to work out what to work on for the next few days yet, but knowing me it will be something far too grand for the timeline!

And so it grows..

Happy Sock Madness registration day! (aka February 1st)  You can bet your socks I am already signed up and mostly raring to go, with a side order of knowing I need to track down my sock needles and make sure they are free for the next couple months.

January was very green in the knitting.  I received the new yarn for Ben’s Guston sweater and restarted and got several more rounds in on my latest lace project to the point I added another segment to the cable of my needles.  Conan helped on a couple occasions.

But more importantly, I did say I was going to really work on my quilts this year…. and I have made significant progress on the Contours quilt top.  I have about 11 blocks left to go but I am far enough along to start arranging and rearranging to see if one layout suits me better than another.  Tessellations are such a fun part of quilt building in my opinion.

The first one shown here is an inverted version of the primary display on the kit.  The second, which does look a bit bears ears at the corners has the same central layout as the kit though.

Hopefully I can finish up the rest of the squares this month, pick the layout and get that top assembled.  With January being so many parts of bigger projects I’d like to move something close to the done pile.

Lastly… I get to introduce the newest member of our household.  We adopted a lovely orange tabby girl from Homeward Pet animal shelter that we have called Kaylee.  She was under socialized with people and so is rather shy, with the notable exception of Conan, whom she follows around and has started a fan club. She also likes fish tanks, balls and toys on strings.

2018-2019 Recap: Where I ran off to since October

Yes, I totally did figuratively fall off the face of the Earth right after saying I was going to try to do better about that.  Whoops!  In order to do better this year I went ahead and made it a Task on my Task list so it should pop up and hopefully that will help… I mean I do get the laundry done every week so I’ve got that going for me at least.

I was knitting and it wasn’t all socks (as promised) it was in fact a sweater finish in September, October and November!

The Havar sweater dress on the left features my 2017 Christmas Yarn from Ben.  I also realized shortly after finishing it I probably could have went down a size.  The middle, which is Radiate by Joji Locatelli used a gradient hand spun I recieved in a yarn swap.  I knit it a bit longer and worked more of the yarn into the hem and cuffs.  Lastly, the right side is an Aidez.

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I overdyed some thrifted yarn I picked up and stashed way back in 2012 that turned out to be just a little different pinkish tan rather than a more neutral tan that I planned at the time to make a nice cabled blanket with.  Alas the blanket went out the window with the color of the yarn not quite matching up with anything and then the idea of overdying it took over. Thankfully I am now down to just under half of the 10 skeins I started with.

Now I did actually knit a couple pairs of socks for gifts.  One pair for Ben that I sincerely went looking for a good one color but good with stripes pattern and ended up finding a two color sock but forged ahead in my one color plans anyway called Algaü.  The second pair being a request for my father-in-law whom has very large feet and so I kind of winged it from his measurements.  I have been assured they do indeed fit, so that’s good.

So total for 2018 was 16 pair of socks, 3 sweaters, a pair of hats, a pair of mittens, and 4 wraps (shawls/scarves)  with both one quilt and a blanket finished.  Not too bad, though I still feel a bit guilty about my quilting WIPs so I have put 1 per quarter on my goals for this year.

catxmasA brief personal note before I jump into my goals for 2019, (Its still January… they aren’t late!)  Ben and I had to say good-bye to our 15 year old calico cat, Sonja at the end of the year.  You may also recall her from the making of the Stargate Cat Beds, which was apparently 6 years ago.

 

Now for 2019…  I am running a very unofficial Tea Cozy KAL which you can join in at any time right over here. As mentioned previously, I am planning to complete 4 quilts this year starting with my Contours Quilt Kit that I have already started and just need to set aside time for.  I have a sweater that I will be restarting for Ben due to a yarn color change, a Niebling Lace table cloth and a beaded shawl in my WIPs to finish.  Then I have 3 sweaters, 3 shawls/scarves and 6 pairs of socks making up my top 12 in my Ravelry Queue.  Here’s the coming colors of 2019!

Summer Sock Knitting

Wow…. so its been a few months since I updated and it was socks.  So I guess I have been kind of stuck in a rut in that after Sock Madness I convinced myself to try out Tour de Sock. And even though I joined in with a group that was literally named Zero Expectations, I managed to knit most of the rounds in the time frame, and the only ones I didn’t knit were the warm-up, cool-down and one that I didn’t have the right yarn for while I was on my vacation.

And then as if that wasn’t enough… I knit Ben two additional pair of socks, and I turned a KAL cowl into… socks.

Which brings my total count of socks year to date to 14 pairs!  Its not quite the 20 pairs from last year, but its still quite a bit of socks when you lay it all out.

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Coming soon; something that isn’t actually socks!

Where did May go?

Sometimes its like everything and nothing is happening all at once.  But let’s start with the reason the log jam of the guestroom quilt made it out of the machine and onto the bed… My husband told me he didn’t want to ask for an Overwatch quilt since it seemed I wasn’t quilting as much.  Well it was more like I kept finding the repetitive line quilting boring.  So I ordered him a section of fleece and made him up a quilt for his Houston Outlaws team.

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The design is hand appliqued onto the fleece.

In knitting news… Sock Madness has come to a close.  I made it to Round 5!  That means 6 pairs of socks (Qualifier and 5 rounds).

I’ve started work on my first paper pieced project from a kit I bought.  Its a new skill for me and so far I’m up to about 8 of 36 blocks done.

Darn It!

When you make handmade things and use them, sometimes they get to a point where their usefulness is slightly less useful due to issues like lost buttons, snags, or just plain worn out.  So that was my yesterday crafting.

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The “before” pile. They have really piled up!

I started with weaving in the ends on my fresh off the needles Sock Madness Round 2 socks because I wanted to wear them.  As a side note, the magenta yarn used in these is part of a test buy of Elann Intonation to see how it knits up since its always good to find some less expensive options sometimes. (it came out to $7/skein for 100g/436yards.) It seems to be a bit of a finer weight fingering and knits up fine but probably not suitable for repeated frogging based on the fuzz and splitting it seemed to have when I was working up and tinking a few stitches of my socks.  Pattern is called Checkbox Socks, and its actually the third pattern I’ve knit by this designer.

Sock Madness also serves as a fun skill building testing ground, but that also means maybe you don’t have all the best techniques down so I had a few spots on last years pairs that I gave Ben that needed a small hole fix where an afterthought heel was joined and my first intarsia in the round was coming loose.  Sock Madness does have minimum requirements so that all knitters are knitting at least a specific number of stitches (you can do more) and a 9 inch or better feet.  While I do in reality have exactly 9 inch feet, I don’t always have the best gauge, especially on rows.  In a fun knit I’d just knit less… but in Sock Madness this sometimes means I have to shorten them later… like the round 1 Blackberry socks which came out hilariously long for me.

So at this point I’m 2/3rds the way through my pile but the last two pair are going to be a bit of a challenge.

First up, are the second pair of socks I’d ever knit (March 2014).  I wasn’t so sure if I was going to like sock knitting at this point as the first pair was plain socks and the second sock syndrome ran very strong because aside from the heel turn they were a boring snooze of a sock to knit. So I only committed a recycled yarn  and a plan to knit Two at a time to the cause and I loved them.  The pattern was Melisandre and its a freebie.

Alas not long after I started wearing them, the yarn wore through and I put them in my mending pile where I thought I’d kept the remainder of the yarn (which wasn’t very much) but in the intervening years I must have misplaced or given away.  So I ended up knitting up a patch for the hole and we will see how it goes, its on the bottom of the foot at any rate.

And now we come to the last pair… Which for me was the 2nd Competition Sock Madness pair I’d ever knit, using a yarn swap yarn (Hazel Knits) that has become one of my favorites to knit with.  I love these socks… I’ve wore them down to the very last fibers on the balls of the feet with how much I love wearing them.  It seemed too big of a shame to just give them up considering how nice they looked everywhere else.  So I tried my hand at duplicate stitch darning on one and a giant patch on the other and we will see if I can’t spare my Cable Madness from the pile of uselessness for a bit longer yet.

The yarn used in the last patch is indeed the exact same yarn the originals were made of, its just that the wear has faded the color in the past three years.  I’m not too worried about having patched feet that don’t match.. those are just love patches in my opinion, because I do love wearing socks I’ve knit. (And based on my husband, aunt, and friends… I’m not the only one!)

Where Have all the February’s Gone?

Great Googly-Moogly! I feel like everything and nothing has been happening around here.  I actually did have a plan to update in February, but that went completely out the window due to a impromptu trip to Kansas to help out family for a couple weeks.

I did mention I was going to knit up a test knit shawl.  Its a rather different design as its a center out triangle of 2 color brioche.  The pattern has been released as Arrakis.

Apparently it was a multi-color time frame as I’d just finished a two color shawl on my holiday trip, and then took up a two color brioche sample knit for my nearest local yarn store, The Nifty Knitter. 

file_medium2Which means I did not get either the Havar sweater dress done or the Sweater club sweater done…. and now its Sock Madness season.  Which I did finish my qualifier socks (and in fact are wearing them today!)

Which brings my finished knit yardage up to 1.7 miles thus far this year, even without any new sweaters. Which kind of negates the whole not knitting 11 miles again this year thing if I keep going at this pace.

One of the things I like about the Sock Madness group is that they give prizes for things other than the major end goal of fastest knitter of socks this year. Things like the ability to overcome some hurdles along the way or taking a great or amusing photos which is basically a general participation enjoyment.  The majority of the prizes are donated from fellow participants. The first year I didn’t know what to expect and joined because it was free, and you’d end up with all the patterns, so why not give it a shot.  It was the year of my wedding and I was knitting up all my flying piggies, and my post about knitting up flying piggies won me a prize of a couple skeins of yarn.  So I try to donate prizes now when I can.

One of the things I like to make for prizes and gifts for knitters are project bags.  And I’ve recently finished off a small batch. (And now I need a few more supplies to make another batch)  This style is a good size for a take your sock project with you.

 

At any rate… I am guessing the next post update will be socks.  And I may have to decide on which sweater for my between rounds project.  And just to make it more interesting, the email to pick my next sweater yarn shipment color showed up this morning!

Looking Ahead to 2018

If you’ve read my year end/years beginning in the past you probably know I don’t really make resolutions.  I do set out ideas and monthly goals and try not to get too worked up when something goes off the rails.  (Hello, last year’s quilting goal!)  Life happens, and you just have to roll with it.

So here’s the plans thus far for 2018 and maybe I will surprise myself again.  I certainly didn’t set out to kit 11+ miles and double my socks knit count last year!

On the knitting front, I have 3 more sweater quantities of yarn coming from my Neighborhood Fiber Co. Sweater Club subscription, and I’d like to knit them up before the next one arrives.  Thus far I knit up a lovely cardigan and I’ve picked out my next yarn which should arrive sometime this month.

Additionally my husband bought me yarn for a Havar Sweater Dress.  (Maybe Valentines Day outfit??)  I am still committed to my Op-Art Socks though I was a bit of a slacker in December and knit neither KAL pattern, so now I am a pair behind.  (Though I totally did knit a different pair of socks that month… it counts right?) I have also committed through admiration to test knitting a lace weight brioche shawl by the same designer as my Weirwood Tree Shawl.  So perhaps fewer projects but of greater yardage is the plan for this year.

On the quilting front, I am tempering my number of quilts goal, though the guest room green and yellow modern is still on the list to be finished.

Guest Quilt Top

All that being said, I am a bit of a sucker for beautiful quilts and the woman behind the 365 Day quilt (which, again, I have not finished…) is doing a Block of the Month that is downright gorgeous, so I’ve signed up for her Aves Quilt A Long.

One item that can not be overstated enough is how organization helps with actually getting things completed.  I try to keep my stash updated on Ravelry so that when patterns catch my eye or when I’m contemplating what to knit next I have some idea of what I have without needing to go up and sort through the yarn bins. Alas, there isn’t (or at least I haven’t found it) a Ravelry equivalent for fabric and quilting.  So with the aide of my husband, I started a database to input my fabric stash so I can sort through what I have and perhaps liberate the ones I’m not madly in love with and find solutions for the fabrics I really do love.  So this year is going to be year of the fabric stash organization.  Right after I put away the Christmas decor….