Colorwork and Woodwork

I swear that the woodworking does not refer to me picking up a new craft, but rather to refer to the last post I mentioned how we were updating our floors to hardwood in the midst of Sock Madness.  I am happy to report that the floors are installed!   And they are beautiful.

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So now its down to bringing all the belongings into the house again, which thankfully is not on such a swift timeframe.

Sock Madness has continued in a cavalcade of colorwork, combined with my first pair of dark ludwig socks.

Between rounds of socks we had a hotel stay due to the floor finishing, which I used to start tackling the KAL project, which was  colorwork mittens.  The cats were rather unhappy about the drive, but settled in to days of traffic and knitting supervision.

And while I did finish the striped sweater, I am not super sure I like it and how it fits, so photos of that coming eventually later.  (A portion of that is adjusting to how clothes fit now that I have lost ~80 lbs.)  But I will tease you with my finally conquering one of those knitting opuses… a Herbert Neibling lace pattern.

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Now I just need to get my crafting spaces back assembled!

Keep Busy and Keep Going

Sometimes the best you can do is to just keep moving in the general direction of where you want to end up.  Then the next thing you notice you are already well on your way to a pile of stuff that somehow managed to get done.

I attempted to start my latest finished shawl on our holiday road trip.  And while its well written its spread across a few charts and as someone that sometimes has eyes wander in a chart, it was put on hold.  But I’m happy to say my first project with Stellina (aka sparkles) is complete.

The pattern is called Weirwood Tree. I suppose a more dedicated knitter than I would have knit it up in white and then hand dye-painted each leaf that burgundy/magenta of its namesake.

Also on the knitting front, its approaching Sock Madness time, and yet I managed to plan out extra socks to make, and even finished a pair for Ben, who has since decided he actually likes hand knit socks.  And I churned out a brioche cowl for a KAL this month too.

And last but not least I said I wanted to make 5 quilts this year… so I managed to put together another quilt top (I have the backing and binding fabric for this already)

Yes, it is a Christmas Throw Quilt.  No, I don’t have plans for it other than to make it. The design is called a Four Patch Lattice and goes together rather quickly.

Next Up: Expect a bunch more socks, Maybe a sweater, and I should probably get around to quilting one of these quilts…..

Of Failures, Fibers and Finished Objects

So let me start this off with an apology.  When I started my blog it was just about knitting and probably 90% or more for my own edification.  Then I made a couple things and a few things more and found myself with a blog that while not front page news is being visited more days than not out of the year.  So this year I started off with a goal of bumping up that post number so there would be a bit to read a bit more often… and its looking an awful lot like I’ve failed at that, but I hope you will forgive me as I keep trying to keep up.

I was kind of holding off on updating this time because of my failure feelings, so you can probably imagine my surprise when I have six finished objects to share.

First up, I finished my twisted two color socks made from yarn swap yarn!

The pattern for these is an obscure free one called Twisted. Its done without a cable needle and for me, I decided to continue the design on the legs, which meant going up a needle size.

Then I turned up the full steam of “really its only 180 more rows” and finished up my There and Back Again Hobbit Scarf even before Ben’s birthday.  I figure this way he can wear it on the winter trip rather than finish for Christmas and have him freeze before then.

Now if I had this to knit over again, I’d probably not have chosen single ply yarns (the pills!) and I’d have picked a true solid instead of a tonal.  That said, the charts are exceptionally well done and its an epic scarf with an epic tale.

Now at this point I shall remind you that I was yarn swapping last post and so point out that my gifter sent me some AMAZING gifts, including a glorious skein she spun herself (on the left here).

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This is relevant because whenever I do a yarn swap I have a wonderful time picking out the yarn to give which is then immediately followed by shame and guilt over yarns that are still in my stash.  There is yarn in my stash I was gifted three years ago.  You see… I have this thing where gifts are significant to me, and thus yarn gifts need to become something significant and meaningful.  And there are a few yarns that end up in that pile too… such as the Araucania Lauca yarn which was a wool, camel and silk blend.

So I fixed that by knitting up a honey cowl, and in true “leave no yards behind” mentality I also made up a matching slouchy hat.

Now September and October are currently lace knit along months and so I started out with a lace and bead cowl.   The yarn for this one includes Sea Cells in the blend, which is made from the cellulose of sea weed fibers, and when I saw it on the yarn crawl this year I knew it was in need of something with beads.

I should mention that this is my first time using bicone style beads and they are taller than a typical 6/0 bead so instead of border beads on the side of the pattern I just did a simple purl stitch.  I restarted this so many times before I did that change just trying to make it work.  This was a classic example for no one is judging your final project based on the tribulations you went through except you…. unless you tell them.

Which brings us at last to the sixth finished object.  Technically this was cast on way back in January, but at that time I had a bit going on and this is a pattern with both front and back side charting and is one of those projects you kind of have to pay attention to… but boy is it worth it.

This is in fact another swap yarn and you may remember it from the Maple shawl.  This time its a white oak lace scarf, and there is actually a bit of this yarn left… I’m contemplating a matching hat to finish it off, but don’t hold your breath just yet on that one.

Whew! That’s quite a few finishes.

But wait!… There’s More!

I did put Fiber in the title for a reason… and not just because I was going to namedrop so many different fibers either.  It was actually about something that came just today.  I found a thrift auction for 6 lbs of wool fleece, and it was a good enough deal that I bought it.

For yarn reference there are over 450 grams in a pound and most average commercial skeins weigh either 50 or 100 grams.  Its a very big bag.

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The majority of the bag looks to already be washed and is ready to be carded then spun.  There was a smaller amount of it still “in the grease” which shows it was a bit of a curly hair breed.

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So we will see how this new endeavor spins out.

And lastly a WIP update… I need to get back to my tulip cross stitch.. I did make it past the half way spot, but I’m a bit behind for where I wanted to be at this point.

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Yarn Shop Hops and Swaps

Before I get into the yarn eye candy, let me start with a view of my 2016 sock collection from Sock Madness.

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Just like last year, by the time we reach the finals I have thoughts of designing a sock for the next time.  Technically I have until September, but thus far my pile of projects doesn’t look like it has an opening.

At any rate, I ended up out on Round 5 with the upper left socks, Eisregen.  And while they only took 13 days, those 13 days included a trip to Mount Rainier (we were hosting a guest), the redditgifts yarn swap, and my first LYS tour hop.  Which means I may have gotten a bit carried away on the swap.  She said crochet, not too fussy about yarn quality, and purple; do you know how many shades of purple there are? Way more than the five I sent, but I hope it was a good first swap for them.  I actually ended up receiving from the person I sent yarn to last year!  She sent me a skein she hand dyed herself.

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I’ve got it wound up and set aside with a gunmetal grey for what I think may turn into a pair of Twisted socks.

I did manage to contain myself in the yarn shopping. (My husband may not fully agree, but he wasn’t there so he didn’t see all the yarn I didn’t buy, did he?)

Here’s my first day haul:

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I specifically wanted to try the Smooshy with Cashmere since I really love my socks from last years madness which were a cashmere blend. The skein on the right is by a local dyer that I met to hand off the remnant from my Golden Waikimari socks and there is some up currently in their etsy shop. The two on the right are my first yarns with sparkles, since I don’t look at color labels I found myself at the register discussing how much I liked the second from left colorway and saying it reminded me of “80s rose wallpaper” its called Zombie… which is OK too.

On Day Two I may have found a couple crazy deals at a shops discount section.

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The three on the left all came from the same shop, but the navy is a mink and the white is a cashmere… and how do you leave such softness behind?  I was thinking maybe some lacey brioche project, though the white is significantly more yardage than the blue. The pale amethyst and mint on the lower left clearly has said it needs lace and beads and gets its shine from sea cell, which is basically a rayon made from seaweed.

So two days combined with a couple thrift shop pick ups and… my yarn stash is threatening to regrow. Thankfully the local energy co-op has someone new looking to make hats for charity, and some fellow knitters are doing stash busting projects so hopefully I can destash a bit yet this year.

On the fabric front, the annual quilt shop hop is happening next week. ¬.¬

I am not sure what happened but there are significantly fewer shops this year and looking at my fabric and yarn stashes I’m leaning towards not going this year.  I do like the fabric this year so I might have to visit one or two shops, but I think I won’t do the bus.

Socks and other things that happen when pigs fly

Whew!  I am writing this post while sorting through songs to play wedding day… and finding all the photos of things I didn’t blog about.  (Shame on me!) But I have reasons!  Some of them are better than others too!  One of my reasons is we have been redecorating some of the house by painting.  And we finished up the guest room just in time for my future (soon!) mother-in-law to come visit. This is also the home of most of my yarn stash, and now it sports a great chair for sitting and knitting in.

While she was here, we visited a local yarn mill called Abundant Earth Fiber, where we enjoyed getting a full tour from Lydia which included Ben trying out her loom. Even though both his mom and I encouraged him, I am not sure he is going to make any of the rugs we will use when we put in the hardwood floors.

Anyway… back to socks, and specifically Sock Madness.  I did finish the pair with beads for the competition.  I did it “Hollywood Style” which means they are too long in the toes (and I did run out of my skein there too!) so I shall just have to fix them in post-production.

I solemnly swear to try to post my post-production sock fix.

I solemnly swear to try to post my post-production sock fix.

And then after the socks with cables and beads… it was Kilt hose to narrow the teams down to just seven.  So I tackled my first pair of socks made intentionally for someone else.  Which turned out better than I had hoped, and I have the distinct pleasure to present as worn with kilt.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Tradescantia Zebrina Socks

Tradescantia Zebrina Socks

So this is the second to last round… and while I did get started, I’ve not gotten terribly far and will not be advancing to the final round.  The pattern is by the same designer as the Semki socks I made, so its quite the challenge.

While I didn’t make it all the way to the finals, I did win a prize!  And all because I knit a very silly little flying pig between the rounds.

I had so much fun making him… I’ve started to knit a whole fleet!  (While there are several names for groups of pigs, there doesn’t appear to be any for the flying kind.)

As for the other things… well in addition to finishing my wedding shawl, I did actually tackle a shawl that I have had in my queue with yarn assigned from nearly 3 years ago.  I know.. that’s a long time to have something in queue with the yarn, but let me take you back…. back to the early years.  Like many a newer knitter, I started out trying to balance budget and skill, and you know me, I tend to be frugal.  So it was a real splurge when I used some reward bucks at a yarn shop to pick out a gorgeous skein of Malabrigo lace.  The color is called Archangel, but in my opinion, its the Orion Nebula.

The pattern for this one is both simple and complex… mostly bare half-charts which leave some of the mechanics open to interpretation…. so I did my best.

And before I forget yet again… I did enjoy the Yarn and Fabric Swaps.  And quite frankly… I totally made out like a bandit!

Here’s my fabric gift write up.  My giftee posted a thanks, but no photos.

And the one for yarn.  (Here’s what I sent)

So now I have more piggies, more wedding knits, and two pairs of color work socks to finish up… anyone have a knitting clone?

The January 1000

Believe it or not… I knit 1000 yards in January.  (Yeah I know, I hardly believed it myself)  The whole month I was in “I’m never going to finish all the things I want to get done this year” for a mindset which may have helped but then again was a bit stressful at times.

So let’s see… first we made socks that I’m putting firmly in the category of “will wear for benefit of the TSA.”  This is a silly idea of mine that since we have to take off shoes most often to travel, and since the TSA officers then get to see a myriad of socks, I shall wear socks as if it were a sock contest.  Previously this was novelty holiday socks, but now I have these beauties checking in for the first 200+ yards:

No officer, a clown did not puke on my feet.

No officer, a clown did not puke on my feet.

 

That pattern probably would look a bit better in a less variegated color, but it was a nice simple repeat suitable for taking in the car or when concentration isn’t as needed.  Which means it offset my lace and beads shawl project.

The pattern itself was only available for a very short time called Dance With Dragons.  I used about half of my Secret Santa yarn, so I shall need to find another project for the remainder, but overall I am loving how it came out.

Next up… it was the January Cold Sheep challenge… find the oldest yarn in your stash and knit it up.  Technically I’ve other yarn that was in my stash for longer, but due to the time of year and the plans for it, I went with actually probably the oldest yarn.  A vintage Dazzleaire from the era of when it was “new” that may even predate my own existence.

Dazzling Yellow Dazzleaire

Dazzling Yellow Dazzleaire

This yarn joined my stash from another knitters stash.  The idea of what to do with it went through several considerations and I really do like the colorway.  But when pressed for an idea… I decided to make my very own design Neck Cat.

This kitty loves to travel.

This dazzling kitty loves to travel.

The essential design idea is a cat themed neck/travel pillow, and I’d say that while its comfortable, and obviously a cat, this fella needs a second go through the design phase.  The next iteration I plan to aim for a more curved and less square body shape, with feet that are a part of the main pillow.

Now at this point I was just shy of both February and 1000 yards. I wasn’t yet ready to start another beaded shawl.  Another person shared some mosaic knit dish/wash cloths, and I am sitting on a stash of quite a bit of cotton so….I churned out a pair of cloths myself.

Coral and Peach Partners

Coral and Peach Partners

Technically the photo above is at the one and a half cloth stage, but I thought it was a nice showcase of how you can just swap the two colors around and get a mismatched yet still matched pair.  It successfully made two skeins of cotton exit the stash and so now I’m starting another mosaic pattern for another pair.

Mosaic knitting is where you slip one color while working the other color across the design.  When you get back to the start of the design, you swap and work the other color while slipping the first color.

An August Spring Thaw

Did you ever have those moments when you look back and say to yourself, now if only I had done this in a different order…..

Such as… if only I had started with the Spring Thaw Shawl instead of the Gamayun Bird, I’d at least have finished one of them on vacation.  And I totally could have managed it on the plane.

So without further delays… allow me to present a completed Spring Thaw Shawl!

Spring Thaw... just in time for fall chills

Spring Thaw… just in time for fall chills

This pattern is actually pretty easy to follow along, and available in both written and charted if you want to get your toe in the waters of lace so to speak.  I went with 12 leaf repeats down the center spine, primarily because of how my yarn colorway was working I decided I wanted to end as I began.. in the dark smoke.

Perfect for a gentle breeze like the one today!

Perfect for a gentle breeze like the one today!

The yarn I used was Patton’s Lace in Woodrose, and it took me just under a skein from start to finish….. which means I have another skein of it.  To me, the browns and greys make it more interesting than just a simple pale pink.

The mohair in the mix gives it a nice soft fuzz to the pattern.

The mohair in the mix gives it a nice soft fuzz look.

I was rather surprised at how quickly this came together… from cast on to fully blocked and photographed in just 6 days!

Full view

Full view