There And Back Again

I left off last time with my quilt frame top plate having just arrived and assembled, the imminent start of the next sock madness round, and a fast approaching road trip departure to a memorial. So let’s start where I did… with my first “quilt” set up on the frame to give it a trial run. I chose to try it out on a simple triangle pattern fabric that I planned to use like a cheater quilt. Straight lines are pretty easy with a walking foot, and on the horizontal left to right or right to left, I found the frame just as easy and perhaps even more efficient. However, I struggle with angled lines. With a walking foot I’d have turned my fabric’s orientation and it would have been all straight. But on the frame I was attempting to drive free form at an angle. Some lines turned out more wavy than others. But overall the start to finish on a throw size quilt was significantly shorter and took me about one day.

On my machine I get about six inches of depth before needing to roll up the quilt, which on this fabric was about two triangles high. This seems like a good reasonable amount and I’m eagerly looking forward to the next quilt…. which I think is to be the Bargello flag because July is coming.

In the hats department… we have arrived at June, which will be the sixth hat in the series, so here’s an overview of the first five.

The next round of sock madness happened just after I got my pink quilt off the frame and before I could sew the binding down on the back side. It was an instarsia harlequin single stitch sock, so lots of fiddly tails. Personally I think if you knit a sock pattern that devotes a section to how to manage 17 yarn threads, you can no longer say you are a beginner knitter.

I managed to finish my pair at the charge stop in Clearwater, Minnesota. It was raining. My finished posts are primarily laid out on my seat, and I had to hunch over. The things we do in the spirit of competition! They took me five calendar days, but one of those days I was driving across most of Montana which hardly counts. I sewed the binding on my quilt down and started another pair for my patient husband between rounds from my new magazine subscription.

The next round (still ongoing) started on the 29th with me needing to hand wind up my skein of yarn. They have beaded embroidery embellishment after you finish knitting, and alas after a few delays for me, I am out of the competition, but have managed to get one sock knitted.

But wait! There’s more! (Sorry… couldn’t help myself there) I also managed to finish my big monogamous knitting project and can now reveal it in some of its glory. I managed to finish and bind off right under my auntie’s nose and then found a sneaky place to block it a bit. Honestly I am mildy disappointed I didn’t bring it home to block it again to get the last of the bunched bits flattened out but based on how things have worked out.. I might not have been able to block it for awhile yet and this way she got it as an early birthday surprise.

If you look closely, the new cone is slightly different on the edges, but I am calling that a design element. This is the Tannenzpfen/Fir Cone pattern by Herbert Niebling. Its 405 rounds, and I knit mine on 000 needles and it came out about four feet square-ish.

Whew! That was quite a bit. But there is more coming up this month. I’m debating if I may do at least some of the quilt shop hop this year which is happening this month. And strawberries and raspberries should be ripening for picking soon too. And of course… new month… new hat to knit. Until then… socks, socks, and more socks.

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.

2017: Year of the Knit

This year I managed to finish exactly ZERO quilts.  Though to be fair, I did make some progress on a queen size and my quilting area was dismantled for a few months while we redid our floors.

However, I knit like the wind with the most number of sock pairs (20), finished projects (38) and yardage (Over 11.5 miles!) in one single year.  So here’s a few of the highlights

For Christmas this year, my husband heard my laments about my inexpensive ball winder starting to show signs of fatigue and bought me a Nancy’s Knit Knacks Heavy Duty Ball Winder and enough yarn to knit myself a Havar sweater dress!  So you can expect to see some of that in the upcoming year.  I am currently battling a head cold and picot bind off for a shawl I knit primarily on our holiday visit… not sure which is going to come out the victor of that yet.

Now Passing 8 Miles of yarn

So one of the fun things I enjoy doing with Ravelry is tagging my projects by year so that I can see how many things I do year over year.  I also use tags to sort projects into various groups so I can see all the socks I’ve ever knit at once, or lace work, or whatever floats my fancy. There is an added bonus that at the very bottom of these project group pages if you’ve tracked your yardage it will tell you how many yards you have knit across those projects.  A simple google and you can convert that into miles.

My personal best was 2015 with 9.4 miles of yarn knit up across 33 projects.  With all the KALs happening this year I noted that not only have I blown my Socks per Year (SpY? is now at 14!) number way out of the ballpark, but I’m already working past 8 miles!

All of which is to say I’ve not gotten much on the quilting front done… but here comes the Finished Objects Parade!

First up…. I had to buy a new winter coat last year because I got too small to wear my old one.  I love my new coat, but because there are days when one wants to maybe be that ladylike person with actual matching accessories, I clearly would need to update my winter accessories to match.  I found some great matching yarn way back in January, and even a glove pattern I loved, and since we have scheduled our Holiday road trip now… its time to make it up.  I had to improvise on the hat since the designer did not already have a hat pattern to match, but I think I did ok in that department.  (Pattern is Red Bud Gloves)

Ben had said before Sock Madness he wanted a pair of purple socks and we picked out Bora as the pattern from my Op Art Socks book.  Since the Sock Madness people started knitting along and it was one of the pattern options of the month… BAM!  Purple Boras.  (Pay no attention to the baggy toes… Ben wasn’t home so I did my own finished photo. They fit him perfectly!) 

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I really try to use up all my gifted yarn.  But its a bit difficult for me at times because gift items get filed in special places in my brain under “You can’t just make ANYTHING! it has to be worthy.”  So sometimes it sits in the stash, peaking out of the yarn bins to niggle at you.  The shawlbingo KAL gave me an opportunity to find the right match for a worsted gradient kit set that my mother gave me for holidays.

Photos do not really do it justice in my opinion, but it goes from a vibrant teal to a deep indigo at the border edge.  Pattern for this one is Wavedeck, which is free, worsted, small yardage and quick!

I wore this out to dinner last night for my Anniversary.

And last, but certainly not least in the FO parade, our bi-monthly KAL theme is short rows and a garter ridge basket was chosen.  I used up a thrifted yarn and a bit more of my remaining fun fur from days when I didn’t know any better and turned mine into a felted easter basket.   Here’s a photo of it drying in all its glory.

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You may recall an earlier basket for gothic easter bunnies…. this is the cutter purple cousin.   I am actually attempting to knock out a second version that will turn into a bin for stashing things… depending on how the size turns out will depend on which things!

So here we are at five projects so far this month, and we still have a whole week left.  If only I were so efficient at the quilting side ¬.¬

That’s No Moon!

Every once in awhile its important to challenge yourself, and you have to understand that masterworks don’t just appear, its something you have to attempt.  For lack of a better option to call them… I call the knitting ones my Knitting Opuses.  The last one was my two color brioche shawl.  I have had “Knit a Herbert Niebling lace” on the opus list for some time, and had gotten as far as tracking down the one English translation book and added it to my library.  The knitting group on Rav started talking about doing an informal KAL and so I finally jumped in at the end of March.

And in true “This is why we block/blocking is magic” fashion I bring you the before and after of blocking my Glocinella.  Blocking added 18 inches!

Now I see you saying… “but Carla, that doesn’t explain your title” and so I bring you to the second part of this post.  Maybe you are sitting there thinking that lace is old fashioned for old ladies with candy dishes and its just not you.  And you are right, lace can indeed be girly and frilly and formal.

But you are also wrong, because at your house when you are an adult you can decorate how you want and have ice cream for dinner.  Parents have been telling their kids that for ages.  When my husband finished his 39 inch Lego Apollo Rocket, I told him the dining room table would be a nice place to display it (The model breaks down into its respective parts and the moon lander fits inside too!).  It certainly is.

And yet, That’s no Moon!

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Next Up:  More socks, a knit basket and a worsted weight lace shawl!

Cakes, Hanks, Socks and Lace

At the end of June, I was back to my thrifting ways and found a nice deal on what I thought was a couple skeins of point 5 (A thick/thin bulk weight) and some professionally dyed fiber so that I could compare to my current just washed fiber and see if that improved my spin, and a couple of skeins I was kind of ambivalent about.  Turns out it was 10 skeins of the point 5…. larger than my teapot!  So I am thinking based on the color I will make up some larger toss pillows for our living room.  I also spun a bit of the unlabeled extra fiber, and it definitely went smoother than my first  round with my own prep work.

Earlier this month I turned 40.  I celebrated by wearing a shirt proclaiming I was “Adult-ish” and drinking a blackberry hard cider while eating a chocolate cake… like the adult I am! It was also new license year for me so I’m kind of glad I lost weight this year.  Now just about 15 lbs to go and then maintain it.  Health-wise some things have gotten better, and some haven’t but overall I’m doing pretty good for 4 decades on this planet.

Naturally I took the occasion to buy myself some hanks of yarn.  There was a special on a weight I wanted to use with the handspun I got from a yarn swap, as well as a camel/silk blend which.  It should be arriving later today. (refreshes package tracking again)

I have finished my first non-wool socks pair, and the first of the Op-Art Socks KAL Anni which I made for Ben. I’ve got yarn picked out for Bora next month and I’m hoping to double down with the Alhambra if I can find a suitable combination. (I wonder if I can sneak in a bit more yarn when I go shopping for my latest swappee….)

I did start on my June KAL lace project, but had difficulty reading the pattern due not in small part to the printing side of things so I’ve put in more work on my Glocinella than I have on my alpaca lace shawl.  I’m down to the last 55 or so rows, which are fast approaching 1000 stitches per round, but its coming along.

I’ve also been attempting to get a couple rows of quilting in on the guest room quilt… but its slow going and like most things these days, it seems like the things to do are piling up faster than the things done.

Sock it to me!

Ok so first up I am updating this from a jury selection room on my phone… But seeing as I couldn’t bring my knitting with me, what better time to blog about it?

 

Firstly, I have managed to squeak in my finish of the latest Sock Madness round just yesterday with a pair of Mosaic socks. (Again with a twist cuff) These are a second pair for Ben already this year.

The round before was a lovely twisted stitches and beads. And I managed to get both of the dark Ludwigs complete as well as one test knit in orange.

This brings my current sock total to 9.5 pairs! 10 has been my prior years maximum, do it’s looking like a good year for socks.

In other news I am about 75%ish of the way through my Glocinella lace, which seems to be the 500+ stitches per round, no longer get full thing spread out on the needle for photos point.

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But at least I have my sewing table and machine set up again do perhaps some quilting updates next time?

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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