Back on top!

Boy I have really fallen behind on updating.  Not quite as far behind as I am on finishing my wedding quilt since we’ve been married now for four years, but still…

Speaking of wedding quilt… mistakes were definitely made, but the top itself is now DONE!  I’ve actually completed all four of the quilt tops for my four quilts goal this year!  I need to get backing for two, piece the backing for the other two then sandwich and do the actual quilting bits… but there is absolutely progress happening.

The wedding quilt is certainly far from perfect.  I adapted a block from The Quilter’s Cache called a posy chain.  Between signers getting into the seams and my poor measuring the points leave a lot to be desired and based on how things were coming together I decided to add the smaller flowers into the chain in order to space the main blocks out and help hide how the main blocks would have met together. It turned out to be about a queen sized quilt.  The three on the left are all throw sized.  The top one does have an additional border now, and was an experiment in learning how to paper piece.  The middle was also a quilt and my lesson on how to sew curved seams.

And speaking of tops, I also managed to finish my second sweater this year, which is also the 2 of 4 for the Neighborhood Fiber Co 2017-2018 sweater club.  (The first being the Waterfall cardigan)  This design is Nutmeg Ginger by Alicia Plummer which I picked because I wanted a bit of texture but not so much to lose the rich chestnut and cool teal from my yarn.

This was actually a project where unlike my photo poses, I attempted to be a full grown knitter and actually alternate skeins as they suggest you do with hand dyed yarn.  Usually I just eyeball and give it a close enough shrug and it works out, but this time I could tell that the balls had some distinct differences. One of the 4 balls was more muted in the chestnut and one ball had larger bits of teal than the others.  So I started out working the hem in one of the true chestnut balls, then swapped to an every other row with the more muted ball through the body and into the texture area.  I used the larger teals ball for the texture and collar.   Here is a close up of my swatch and a comparison of the two balls so you can see why I decided to go that route.

Now I just need to finish up the fingering weight (pattern selected) and navy lace weight (still undecided) before the next sweater club rolls around so I can justify my yarn expenses.  (HA! HA!)

So let’s round up all the other projects I managed to squeak out since the last time we updated… such as the 2 pair of matching anniversary socks, a replacement market bag, a pair of sideways knit zig-zaggy brown socks and a pair of very orange socks (to go with the very orange shawl I presume).  Whew!

Currently on the needles.. the second sock of a pair for Ben, and a very large, very lace project I am doing on 000 needles.

 

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.

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.

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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!

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!

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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