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!)

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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!

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.

Past 10 miles (as the Stash Grows)

I swear there is some yarn harmony rule that says for all yarn that goes into a project, more yarn must come into the stash that keeps my stash in a kind of stasis.  Now it is entirely my fault and in theory a good round of “Cold Sheeping” (A knitter’s term to describe a period of not buying more yarn) would tame my stash pretty well.  I have cut back quite a bit on how much I was thrift yarn shopping which does help with eliminating a number of one-off skeins.  However, having given up all my hand knit sweaters because they no longer fit, I decided to join a sweater club.  In theory a person who is now up to 19 socks this year should be able to knit a sweater every few months… right?

At any rate… my first sweater yarn has arrived. (Excuse my messy photo)

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My plan for this yarn is to make a lovely cardigan to go with a couple new dresses.  The yarn did include a nice cardigan pattern, but I think I might swap it up with a different choice.

In other news we are now up to design 4 of 19 from the Op Art Socks Book. This one took me three attempts before I was satisfied with the color combination.  After which Ben promptly proclaimed that he liked them too.  Thankfully the man doesn’t have too big of feet.

Next up on the agenda is a project that is LONG overdue. The yarn has been in my stash since 2013 when my (now) Mother-in-Law took us to an Alpaca farm in Kansas when we were there that winter and asked me to make her a scarf.  She knits herself, and is very special to me, so a simple thing just would not due.  So the yarn has languished in my stash waiting and waiting for its time on the needles. Well its time has come… and I should be able to update the blog next time with a finished object using this very meaningful yarn.

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Personal Bests and The Bests that are yet to come.

Its not quite October (3 months left to go!) and I’m setting new personal records in knitting this year.  I’ve exceeded my previous most completed projects count.  I’m only 4 pair away from doubling my lifetime sock knitting count with all the socks I’ve knit this year, and I’m only about 450 more yards until I hit 10 miles of yarn stitched up! (Hello next sock pair in the queue!)

This past month I was working on another felted KAL basket and finishing up projects for other people.  Including 6 sock pairs all in the same pattern.

In only marginally related news, I also solved my sock drawer problem of running out of space for new socks by removing all non-handknits from the drawer.  I think I may have made room for a couple more pair and can probably look at a few pair that have felted a bit or don’t fit just right anymore now.  Also my husband installed a small expandable drying rack in the utility room so I have a dedicated space for drying them.

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Next month I am expecting my first installment for a sweater club I signed up to join.  I had to give up all my hand knit sweaters after losing 80+ lbs, so I might as well get started on some new ones!  Expect to see some bigger projects soon!

(Now I just need to figure out…. what am I making anyone for Christmas from myself???)

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 ¬.¬

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-u-pied and Stash Flash

A normal year of sock knitting for me, is Sock Madness of 5 or 6 pairs plus a few extra pairs spread throughout the year for until now 10 pair a year.  So I am rather pleased with myself to say that I am now at 11 pairs of socks already this year.

You’ll notice I finished the second of the test knit socks.  The pattern, called Runway Socks, is now available and there is a discount code on the pattern page for the next few days if you want to make a pair of your own.  The tetris-y looking socks were the semi-final round for this years Sock Madness, Pentoeminoes. Alas, my East Coast team rival managed to best me with a finish while I was part way up the 2nd leg (they were toe up)

61LbUCyI-UL._SX413_BO1,204,203,200_Now, I would understand if you concluded that I was done making socks for the year, but I mentioned to my teammates how I had committed to making several pairs of Ludwigs from the Op Art Socks book and would be looking to knit all the socks from the book since I received it for my birthday last July.  So now I am committed to KAL the rest of the book.  If you want to join us for a rather casual KAL, the details are over in this Ravelry thread in the Sock Madness group. There will be two pattern options open for knitting each month and you can knit both, one or neither as your heart desires.  There are no prizes other than the satisfaction of knitting 19 pairs of socks with a group of other people all doing the same thing.

I did get out to a few shops during the LYS Tour in May. And Ben even joined me apparently to pick out more yarn for more socks. (This winter seemed to have created a sock wearing monster!)

The Orange in the first photo was used in the Runway Socks above.  The brown and the CoBaSi left of it have patterns spoken for them already too. The three left side yarns in the right photo have been earmarked for Ben.  They join an Opal and another Hazel Knits already in the stash with his name on them.

In non-sock news I have been putting in the rounds on my Glocinella and am about half way through the 2nd set of long leaves now. I still have over 80 rounds to go and I am hoping to finish that AND the KAL lace shawl AND the OpArt Sock by the end of July.

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In non-knit news, my house is mostly reassembled.  The main living areas downstairs and the Master and one Guest bedroom are back together (sans the grandfather clock).  My sewing machine is back at the work table and the shelves are together in the library.  The yarn stash has returned to its stash space, but I’m still sorting out the solution to my plethora of fabric boxes… which is probably why I haven’t been quilting lately. I am thinking I may give this month’s upcoming Quilt Shop Hop a pass.

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!