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!

Let the Madness begin (Plus a bigger dose of crazy)

The Madness I refer to is indeed Sock Madness.  I successfully navigated the qualification round with a pair of Twisted Madness Socks

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This put me on Team KP named for the toxic Pitohui bird.  I went from a Toxic Foxglove to a Toxic Pitohui… what are the mods saying about me?

First round was a dropped stitch pattern called Dropped Madness, and while its still only part way into the round I have finished my socks (I’m #2 for our team this round!), which since they fit Ben, are going to him. These did a different afterthought heel than I have done as well as a new increase style.   I do think making my drop stitch cowl designs last year helped me out this round!

And now onto the extra doses of Crazy.  We decided this would be our year for updating our carpet flooring which has truly seen better days to hardwood floors and refinishing our existing wood to make it looks like a seamless install. This means that the whole house has to get packed up and moved out (excluding cupboards and bathrooms basically).  My husband and I will openly admit that one of our failings is being at least a bit hoarder and packrat about various things (see also: fabric and yarn stashes)  So while I was hustling my knitting along into the qualifier, I was also being a crazy packing and moving planner.

The good news is that my activities have paid off and we are on track for our install!  Its going to look amazing once its done, but until then its a bit weird and out of sorts.

In the extra-extra dose of crazy…. I managed to work in a single Ludwig sock, and a bit of progress on both my Guest room quilt AND a striped summer weight (cotton/acrylic) sweater!

Technically I am on the green stripe after the 4th blue stripe of the sweater above… but who has time for taking more photos?!

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…..

Perfectly Presented

Its finally that time of year past gift giving when I can reveal the gifts I made.  I rather like making many of my gifts, though its generally a stressful proposition of that line called “I hope they like it”

First up is a project that was actually a few years in the making for my Father and Stepmother… a movie themed quilt.

I also made one of my nephews a dinosaur sweater… which meant finally having a good use for one of my handknit labels. (He has a great giggle!)

I made up 3 pair of socks and a pair of felted slippers.  The bottom pair went to a friend in Germany.

I also gifted some handmade jellys, lemonade concentrates, rope bowls, hooked rug and starts off my african violet.  Though the subzero weather enroute to their destination was certainly less than ideal for the violets.

I hope your holidays were amazing too!

 

 

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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Everything is happening, so Nothing is happening

Life never seems to happen at a steady pace, it surges and wanes into tides.  Its not that there isn’t progress in a wane period, its just that we mark the starts and ends of things.

Which means that I have plenty of WIP to post, just not much for the done pile.  I actually did finish two projects, but one is a gift and the other is… well its brown.

Now keep in mind I LIKE the chocolate brown and it is 100% Alpaca so its soft and warm.  This yarn was languishing in my stash for the past two years from a yarn swap and ever subsequent yarn swap I have this extreme onset of guilty feelings about not having used yarns from previous swaps or gifts.  But I’m not sold on its final form and perhaps I’ll just have to frog it and start over again.

So onto the WIPS!

I was determined to finish those blocks by my anniversary, so I set our a few days to finish off the last few. They need trimmed up and I am considering adding some inner vining borders, but overall here’s where we are.  New goal is to have the top and backing done and ready for quilting by Christmas.

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I am technically still on schedule for my cross stitch project since I am working on the 3rd quarter in the 3rd quarter, but it feels like I’m a bit behind.  My hobbit scarf is actually behind by about 60 rows.  We are currently riding in barrels on the way to Lake Town, but if I can get to the Last Light of Durin’s day by the last light of August 31 then I’ll be caught up again.

Meanwhile in the “it seemed like a good idea at the time” and “good lord what can I do for the Ravellnic games” depts…  A fellow knitter started a color work socks informal KAL.  And I started two different socks and then they got set aside to join that one sock on the last round I was in of Sock Madness 9 in May of 2015.  So that’s my challenge… to finish up all of my partial color work socks.

You might recognize that blue yarn in the last sock… its from my most recent completed yarn swap.  I am midway in another swap.  My recipient has already received what I sent and took great photos.  And I really can’t wait to see what shows up at my door.  Until then… back to socks and scarves and stitchery things.

 

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.

Bind Off and Flail!

I am a bit behind this month on my posting.  But it all goes back to the topic at hand.  I have been pretty good most of the time making monthly goals and getting things I want to do done.  But every now and again the instant I finish a project, my brain spits out an error message and I get stuck in this loop of “what should I do next?!”  Do I focus on catching up a quilt project? Or maybe work on freeing up a knit project?  Or perhaps the cross stitch project?  And that’s precisely what happened after I finished my latest Sock Madness socks.  Which I really love how they came out!

Golden Fleece Feet

I ended up #17 out of 30 to advance to the next round, and then they have given us an optional round pattern which I’ve not started, because I’m hopping around doing all the other bits.

I squeaked in two more of my block a day quilt blocks.  Technically I should be done with the inner medallion of squares, but I’m really behind.  I was going to measure up the backs for both the snowflake and the chess quilt, but I discovered that I am short a few supplies for the back of the snowflake.  So I instead snipped out some of the extra backside fabric from my flake so that when its laid on the batting it won’t look so dark.

 

Since my other Knit ALong group was also doing socks and I felt like I was cheating a bit being in sock madness; I cast on a sock using some worsted superwash I need to use up (its leftovers from Debora) and I did manage to finish my monthly Hobbit progress!  (We are now past the Carrock and moving into Murkwood and spiders!)

And in my midst of not wanting to “fall behind” on my projects I realized that April is the start of the second quarter of the year, so this naturally means I need to work on the second quarter of my tulip cross stitch project.

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Between all this I’ve been trying to keep up on my gardening and housekeeping (hey the linen closet got sorted and refolded!) And I’d like to say that all that stuff was the reason I was a bit later updating the blog.  But in reality, my brain was looking at things that weren’t done and things yet to get done and it felt like this ominous cloud of “Not finished!” “Undone!” “Incomplete!” right up to the point I wrote this post and sorted out photos and realized… progress even when its not a finish on all of these things has been moving right along.

Now… what should I work on today?