Its been forever and nothing got done…

There are certainly times it feels like its been so much longer and so little finished I’d have nothing to say.  Usually I have to start out flipping back through photos to figure out if I did actually manage to finish things and sure enough there is.

So first up let’s finish off Sock Madness… the Mobius madness socks knocked me out since its fairly easy to twist something any which way once but figuring out how to flip it the other way was just not in my wheelhouse.  Plus I had real trouble reading the twist as I was knitting it until I was several rows in because of how you knit it.

The next sock was a three color sock and its beautiful but I’ve not yet gotten even the first one done.  Normally this is where I toss in the towel on socks but they were rather cool looking and the pattern at the end was the very last BBK pattern which includes beads or as she would call them… bling.  So I used up nearly the last of my fingering weight from Neighborhood Fiber Co to knit those.. and then managed to use the absolute last of it making the last Lacy not Lazy so I’d have a matching pair.

In the midst of all this sock knitting it was also kitten season… which for me meant kitten hunting season.  You may recall from the prior post that Conan turned 17 this year.  He has health issues and our other cat, Kaylee, has bonded rather closely with him but was incredibly under socialized when we first got her.  So last winter we decided this spring we would keep an eye out and look to adopt a new kitten so she would have some time to bond with another friend as well.  Finally on May 28, we managed to make an appointment at a shelter and adopted this guy into our home…. he’s called Balex.  And he has a lot to learn about knitting FO photography.  And yes… this does mean we have three orange cats, but that’s just because the orange ones are so awesome!

So you’d think after all those socks I’d be back onto the second sweater but… nope! I circled back to my April Mystery Stash KAL and finished a pair of Hermoine’s Everyday Socks in April Showers.  June’s project was to make some Coffee Cantata socks and I’ve got half a leg done… but opening the July bin… its time to make our semi-matchy anniversary socks in Rainbow and Grey.

Hopefully July will get me caught up to at least the things I have planned… but life has been coming pretty fast lately.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Repair

So as someone with a not so tiny fabric and yarn stash, I’m doing alright at crafting in a time of Staying Home for Covid.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that its also Sock Madness time so for brief bits of time I have specific projects to occupy my time.  This year I made it into Round 5, and we came up against a rather technical sock and I didn’t make it into the Final Five round Six, but I’m still plenty pleased with how I did since to me its all for learning skills and making socks. This year there was a significant portion of colorwork socks in their various forms. Here’s a few including the vibrant yellow of a warm up pair but just one of the three teal & aqua I ended up making with a fourth planned for someday soon.  But at least I have reduced some of my yarn stash right?

April was slated to be a pair of Hermoine’s Everyday Socks in my Mystery Stash Bust along… but the timing felt like I’d be running into other Madness rounds so I substituted in a pair of Morrison socks which were a DK weight.  Theses were on a yarn dyed by Black Trillium whom sadly is getting out of yarn dying. So I may have partook in the going out of business sale and this is also partially why I have such a stash.  In my defense… the socks and a couple of the skeins are for Ben so….

May is also Conan’s 17th birthday month.  So to tackle his gift it was decided to make him a heated car bed.  You can buy a basic heating mat to place under the cushion in a traditional store bought bed, but you can’t just expect a cat that regularly sleeps on Stargate beds to sleep on something from the store… so into the fabric stash I dove.  I will admit I am a fan of some of the novelty cat prints and came up with a cat and mouse design that seemed big enough for the project.  I quilted the cat fabric through two batting remnants into a fabric that back in my much younger days started out as a sink skirt in an apartment with almost no storage. (Reuse!)  Then I added bolsters with more cat fabric on the interior and a durable Sunbrella fabric on the exterior.  At the bottom I made a pillow of some fleece remnants and stuffed that with overlapping edges and scraps of fleece batting and pillow stuffing.

The heating mat slides between this pillow bottom and the quilted topper.  The bed was a pretty big hit and is large enough for at least two snuggling orange cats. Conan is pretty good about sharing with Kaylee

Quite some time ago in 2015, I picked up several Row by Row quilt kits and even went so far as to assemble an umbrellas and a rain boots set of rows.

umbrellas and boots

And that was as far as I got but with me trying to organize my stash and use up… I found fabrics a couple years back that also exemplified the rain and with a bit of pondering and math I decided I could make something of them if I turned those rows back into blocks. (Recycle!) So I pulled the seams and did a bit more math and am able to present at least the center of a Rainy Day quilt top!

Sadly while I do have enough of the Rain drops trim, I am mostly out of the Umbrella tops fabric (and the novelty toss) which I think would be an ideal border so its going to probably sit a bit longer until shops re-open or my online wandering find a new solution.

Which finally brings us to the repair portion.  This happens with socks… sometimes far sooner and more often than I would hope for, but there it is. I know I have posted before about the use of duplicate stitching and making patches to fix them, but my husband presented me with a unique problem recently in his Bamboo socks I had just made up last October.  He wore BOTH the toe soles out of them!

img_3497So I decided it would be best just to take out that portion of the toes and reknit them back from the yarn I still had in my partial balls stash.  (I’d like to say this is the reason I keep them but honestly its that I rarely make up scraps projects)

Step one is pretty easy, you just snip out the toe and then start unraveling like you were unhappy with it, until you end up with a row of loop stitches.  Then thread your needles through the loops, join your yarn and reknit back down the toe.  Be sure to look carefully which way your yarn is on your needle as I find I tend to pick up twisted and then need to knit the first row through the back of the loops to get it to untwist.

Now, yes there is some color variation due to wear, but a few washes along and it will even out a bit more.  You can also (I did this on one of them) use the yarn that you pulled out of the toe and duplicate stitch reinforce that area where the hole formed to give it a bit more sturdy of fabric.

Whew…. that was quite a lot going on in April and early May… and I didn’t even get into the next sweater of the year… guess I’ll save that for next time. 🙂

The Knit Goes On

So February exited rather dramatically here on in the Pacific NorthWest, and of course now its spread much farther.  For many people that means a bit more crafting time.  Not that many of us will actually achieve our imagination’s ability to dream up all those things we could finish if we only had the time, but maybe a bit more than some.

Spring In Her Path

For me, I was impressed with myself on being able to actually knit a fingering weight sweater in one month as I managed to finish my February Stash KAL project, the Spring in Her Path sweater.

This actually means I’m three quarters of the way through my sweater club sweaters.  Previously I made the worsted weight Nutmeg Ginger, and the sport weight Waterfall Cardigan.  It still a bit cold here, but I might have tried to give it a blog debut with a first of the year cone to match up with a last of the year cone of the Nutmeg Ginger sweater, but alas the Tulip Festival has been recently cancelled, and so too our usual plans for a long drive and waiting in line for a monster ice cream.  I’ll just have to delay the satisfaction.

I managed to sneak in a pair of fingerless mitts from a KAL.  I’ve decided they shall be my driving gloves for when its a little too chilly in the mornings on the way to the pool… next fall.

March brought with it the start of Sock Madness, and my next Mystery Stash KAL project which turned out to be a cabled and lace scarf.  Followed up with the first round of Madness… which I’ve managed to finish in time to move on when the round ends.

March was supposed to bring a trip to Vogue Knitting Live, but its since been postponed to some later as yet unannounced date.  This was originally intended to be the major yarn shopping event for my year.  So I did a little virtual shopping to make up for it.  The bottom is from a local yarn dyer I particularly like called Hazel Knits.  The other two are also local-ish dyers that I am trying out.

Expect more socks… maybe even a few with these very yarns in the next update.  Until then.. stay safe everyone!

Winding Up Some Finishes

Ok its that time of year… when one registers for speed sock knitting and attempts to finish up projects in time for Sock Madness! This year I added finishing one of my double knit mittens project that has been on the needles to the “must free the needles” list.  BUT I can safely say that the past month or so has been dedicated to two pair of knock out drop down nearly too pretty to put on your feet socks.

file-5First up the gorgeously beaded Bling! pair designed by Adrienne Fong who sadly passed away this past September and chose to gift all her patterns free.  She was a wonderfully fun person met through Sock Madness and you could count on her to support your wildest beaded sock dreams.

I am happy to report the materials list is out for Sock Madness and one designer does have a sock with beads so that will be fun to look forward to. (There are also quite a few multi-color socks so… hmmm.

Next up are a pair of Artic Blizzard snowflake socks.    These were originally available for the 2018 season of Tour de Sock which was my first year participating and I have adored the pattern because of my love of snowflakes in general. (Seriously snowflakes are amazingly beautiful arts of nature and I could go on a whole rant about how it peeves me that people use it as a term to belittle people, but I won’t… yet.)  It took me a bit to find an appropriately stellina sparkled pale grey/white yarn to pair with my tonal blue so I didn’t finish during the competition but they were so worth the wait! file-6

Both of those sock knitting competitions are great fun and if you think you might like spending your spring knitting all the socks I totally suggest giving one or both a try.  Sock Madness is free to join and so long as you put in a reasonable effort then you will get all the patterns (this year there are 15 patterns!), even if you aren’t the speediest.  It is a good way to learn techniques that may be new to you as well and there are prizes awarded throughout the competition that are not just speed or skill based.  The Tour does have an entry fee, but the majority of this fee is going to the charity Doctors Without Borders.  You compete both as an individual or on a team if you want to bring along some sock knitting friends, get sock patterns, and give to charity all in one.  As a general rule, the Tour tends to start just as Sock Madness is winding down.

file-4Whew!  now… as to my Mystery Stash project, in January I completed a Petra Lace Scarf.  This yarn was a special gift from my husband in a matching set of two skeins each for both my mother-in-law and myself back in 2015 when we visited the local(ish) Abundant Earth Fiber mill.  My mother-in-law chose the pattern and the plan was to KAL the scarf together, but over time she’s had difficulties both for her husband and herself and she’s just not knitting anymore.  So when it came time to pick projects, I looked at some of my “elder stash” and decided I’d finish one scarf, and then perhaps swap her a completed scarf for her yarn.  The deep plum doesn’t photograph too well, but strangely enough I think it matches coats we now both own.  This scarf is knit in two pieces and joined with kitchener stitch so that the lace flows the same way down from the center back.

And so now we are on to February and the first sweater of the year.  I cast on my Spring in Her Path sweater with some yarn from my last sweater club yesterday.  Its a fingering weight sweater but if I’ve estimated my yardage right I should have some yarn left for a nice pair of socks too!

 

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:

file-3

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.

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!

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.

IMG_1104

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.

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!