On Your Mark, Get Set, Knit!

Is it Friday yet?  It feels like a Friday.  January kind of hit me in one fell swoop this week – and here we are more than half-way through the month.  Oiy!

Here’s What’s on My Mind…

February is going to be a great month for knitting.  First of all, there’s the Super Bowl.  Which since I probably don’t care a wit about who’s going to be in it (my poor Packers had a tough year this year) I’m watching for the commercials! Then, there’s the winter Olympics.  If you’re at all familiar with Ravelry, you might also be familiar with Ravellenics.  The idea of Ravellenics is to challenge yourself to knit something during the 2018 Winter Olympics.

My friend Knittymuggins and I were talking about the Clayoquot cardigan and steeking one day.  We fell upon the idea of doing a KAL with the Clayoquot cardigan, with the possibility of a skype phone call to do the steeking portion.  (Sadly, we live waaaay too far apart to do a in person steek together.)  Since the Ravellenics are right around the corner, we decided to do the cardigan as our very own Knitting during the Olympics KAL.  I encourage you to sign up for a Ravellenics team.  There are a lot of different teams out there.  I signed up for the YH Ladies one.  I tend to be a bit of a lurker when it comes to these big online group events, which is why doing a KAL with my knitting bestie is much more my style.

I’ve chosen this, The Fiber Co. Arranmore Light, as my yarn for the project.  I need to do a gauge swatch beforehand because time will be of the essence during the actual Olympics.  Wish me luck on that one!  Actually, wish me a lot of luck as my plan is to complete an adult size cardigan for me.

What I’m Knitting

I’m pretty much still knitting on everything I said I was knitting last week.  I did finish a Cindersmoke mitten (my 2nd one) but I need to knit a 3rd so that I have one class sample and one pair of mittens for me.  Yes, it’s crazy, but it makes sense in my head.

Loose Ends

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the blog in the last week.  It’s so nice (and slightly terrifying!) to know that people are out there reading this.

Hello 2018

I did a little experiment this fall.  I wrote down in my planner every project I was working on or planned to work on.  I wrote the start date, end date, if the ends were woven in, and if I photographed it.

I have finished 17 projects since September!  That’s not bad.  Not bad at all considering I feel like I have very little knitting time.  Rarely do I look back at my projects in quite this way.  Until I stopped to count the projects, I had no idea how many I had finished in the last four very busy months.

So often we focus on what hasn’t been done.  When I see this page, I struggle to see the completed lines; instead I see the holes.  But when you break it down into it’s component parts, it feels like accomplishment.

What I’m Knitting

Currently I’m working on a pair of Smooth Operator Socks out of Desert Vista Dyeworks Lords a Leaping colorway.  (that’s the featured image up above).  I’ll warn you that DVD’s website is very tempting…. it’s tough to not purchase a lot of really fun self-striping yarn when I visit the site.  This sock is my take along knitting.   It sits in my bag and I work on it at lunches, at the movies, and whenever I need knitting that I don’t have to look at while knitting.

The Cindersmoke mittens I am knitting for class are almost done.  I’ve set the second mitten aside so that I can work through the top of the mitten and the thumb with the class. 

I‘m also knitting a Snug baby jacket out of Claudia Hand Painted worsted.  I’m considering teaching this as a class.  It’s a simple enough design but it has some interesting construction that makes it great for beginning knitters or those who have more experience and want to try a new technique or two.

 

What I’m Not Knitting

I am not knitting the Find Your Fade in turquoise that you see in the Best Nine photo above.  I really need to rip it back, but ripping out mohair is not a fun experience.  Currently it is sitting in a bag in the drawers next to our sofa – I’m hoping that by putting it in timeout it will have time to think about what it has done and how it really wants to behave.

I also have a BLT shawl that I was working on for a class I taught that has been set aside.  I really like this pattern and the yarn is to die for, but I had more pressing knitting that needed to be finished on a timeline.

 

Loose Ends

Speaking of classes, I’m taking the yarn classes to the pub this month.  I’ll be teaching the Grain Shawl from Tin Can Knits at Hoops Brewery in Canal Park on January 23 and 30 at 6pm.  I’d love it if you could join us.  You do need to go to Yarn Harbor to sign up for the class.  I hope to see you there!

 

A Sweater Place

It struck me the other day when someone asked me what I liked most to knit, that I was in a sweater place.  Most of what has been on my needles the last few months has been sweaters.

There’s been this little guy.  It’s the Zip Up Cardigan by Hannah Fetig.   I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by the zipper.  I almost outsourced this to a tailor shop, but I was determined to try to sew the zipper in myself.  I signed up for a class at Stitches Midwest on putting in zippers.  It was much easier than I had expected.  The only hitch came when the sweet lady next to me at class informed me that I had purchased a non-separating zipper!  Darn!  I ended up having to purchase a new zipper from Zipperstop.com Once that arrived I was able to pull out my class directions and “zip” right through it.  I would definitely make this pattern (with the zipper) again.

 

Then, I made these two sweaters.  They are the Anthropology Inspired Capelet made with Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande.  I made these for the girls to wear at my little sister’s wedding at the end of October.  Not to be content with following the pattern as written, I lengthened the arms and made each sweater longer than the original.  I really wanted these sweaters to be cozy on a cold fall day and I wanted them to have a bit longer of a life than just the one day.

I remember a day when I thought making a child size sweater was so neat because I, “couldn’t possibly knit something as big and involved as an adult size sweater!”  Child size sweaters just went so fast.  Now that my girls are in adult sizes (mostly), their sweaters still seem to move pretty quickly off the needles.  Plus, I can steal their sweaters and hand knit socks!  It’s a beautiful thing and I think I might have to savor it while it lasts, because I’m pretty sure my girls are going to take after their Daddy in height.

 

Last but not least is this little cutie.  It’s the Clayoquot Cardigan by Tin Can Knits.  This is knit in the round and steeked.  While I’ve steeked before, this was my first time using a crochet reinforcement.  I will definitely be doing this again as I really liked the way it worked to hold everything in place and I liked the way the crocheted line made a nice edging on the inside of the cardigan.  I also think that all of the Tin Can Knits patterns are well written.  I always learn something new from them and very often they make me stretch my knitting skills.

So, basically, I’m in a sweater place.  I’ve got several more started or in the line up.  After all, how many scarves do I really need?

 

Making a List, Checking It Twice

So here’s the deal.  I’m not a “work on one project at a time” kind of gal.  I like to have several projects going at once so that I can work on whatever I have the brain space for.  That means I usually have a garter stitch or stockinette stitch something going; I usually have colorwork or lace; and I usually have a little something with construction like a sweater.  Plus, I believe that knitting this way keeps my hands happier because I am not fatiguing them from knitting on the same weight/needle size too much.  I knit because I love to knit, not necessarily because I want the end product.  Which is kind of weird when you stop to think about it.

Zippered Cardigan

So when I was at Stitches Midwest last weekend the subject of how many projects some of us have going at once kept coming up.  I guess it’s a natural conversation piece when you’re around a lot of knitters.  Barry Klein from Trendsetters Yarn put it this way, he only works on one project at a time because that way he gets projects finished.  He is knitting for a season and to showcase a specific yarn.  I get that.  And yes, my projects are not going to win any speed race records any time soon.   And overall, I’m completely ok with that.

The Queue as it Stands Now

So I decided to take a look at what I was actually knitting along with the things that I know I have to knit soon.  It was a little alarming to know I had so many things on the needles.  And this does not include projects that are in hibernation.  (This list includes 2 things that are not cast on yet).  Now, some of these are just a touch or two away from being finished.  For instance, the orange cardigan just needs a zipper.  I took a class on putting in zippers at Stitches and if it weren’t for having bought a non-separating zipper, this would have been finished.  (Talk about a frustrating moment as my neighbor pointed out that my zipper did not separate at the bottom!)  As soon as the new zipper arrives, I will be 20 minutes of sewing time away from done.  At least 3 other projects are just as close to being finished.

The plan as it stands in my head right now is to not stress about the queue.  However, I am going to make every effort to cull it down.  I really want to get the Owl and the Cowl out of the way before I start the Cedar Leaf Shawlette.  The Cardigan is a shop sample so that gets done as soon as the new zipper arrives.  The Sockhead hat has no real due date and that tends to be my purse knitting – so it can finish any time.   And although I love the knitting, I think it’s going to be very satisfying to X the projects off the list when they are finished!

Vivid Blanket

Knitting in the Wild

Our family took a short vacation to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area about 5 minutes after school was out for the year.  Actually, it was two days after, but it felt like 5 minutes.

We travelled with my father-in-law and my husband’s good friend from college who just happens to now live in Alaska.  We were so happy to have them on the trip!  We did a little canoeing, waited out a hail storm, fished a little, and generally just enjoyed the peace and quiet.

One of the friend’s daughters is our Godchild.  So what does a knitter do when they’re in the BWCA for 4 days?  Knit socks of course!  Child size socks are the perfect camping knitting project.  The bag fits very easily in a Duluth Pack or regular backpack for daytrips.  I may have over packed when I packed my little oilcloth knitting back with 3 half knit socks and the start of the child size socks, but at least sock yarn is light!

I almost knit two socks in the time we were up there.   Not too shabby since I was also the camp cook!  We decided that I would make tube socks since the size of a 6 year old’s foot is sort of a moving target.  This would give her the most wear out of the socks.

In case you’re wondering, (and really, why wouldn’t you be?) you can get a pair of women’s size socks and child size tube socks out of one skein of Roam Fusion 4 ply sock yarn.   Now that’s a lot of bang for your sock knitting buck!

Return of a Highly Caffeinated Knitter

The school year has ended and I feel like I can cut back a little on my high caffeine consumption.  Just a little mind you.  After all, my day does not truly start without coffee.  OK, so I go and work out before coffee, but that’s only because I don’t have to string words together into a sentence at the Y.  And if I am not stringing words together, I’m not really awake yet.

So, what have I been knitting in this highly caffeinated state?  Well, a little of this….

It’s a Foolproof Cowl out of Knitting My Way Home handspun for a class at Yarn Harbor.

and that…

That’s a Find Your Fade out of mohair.  (And if you’re thinking I took the crazy train to make a massive shawl out of mohair, hold onto your hats, you’ll be stunned by what I say next.)  I’m thinking it should be called, Find Your Sanity as I try to rip back and fix a mistake in the lace portion.  Ripping mohair is not a fun activity.  It might just become a very unique Find Your Fade.  I’m even thinking of just doing the lace sections at the very beginning and the very end of the shawl and keeping the center knitting easy peasy.  I’d like to get this one moving again as it is currently in Time Out.  Plus the weather is going to heat up and mohair is not something to play with when it’s 90 degrees F and humid.

some of these for a class…. they are Smooth Operator Socks.

 

I’ve been doing a lot of the Smooth Operator Socks lately.  It’s a great pattern and I really like how the heel fits.  And no kitchenering, well how can you beat that?

oh yes, and there has been some of this Joji Mystery Knit Along going on….

I won’t bore you with the whys and wherefores of my busy spring, because we’re all busy.  Suffice it to say that summer has its own rhythm around here and it is different from the late winter/spring rhythm.  It’s nice to take a deep breath and enjoy the sunlight that we’ve been soaking in.  I’m hoping to see the flat surface of my desk sometime soon at the office, and I’m hoping that my house looks less like a middle school locker exploded in the entry which then set off a secondary explosion of a camping store in the rest of the main living area.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll spend a little time knitting in the sun this summer.

Blame It on the Cold Meds

Confession is good for the soul, right?

I confess, I might have done something that flies in the face of all my knitterly instincts.  I might have done something that is a crime against the yarn itself.

Or… it might turn out really cool.

I had this lovely delicious skein of Single Silky Targhee from Blue Moon Fiber Arts that was staring at me all weekend.  I had several days off with nothing planned and was trying to bounce back from a cold.  I was on a lot of cold meds.  It was 696 yds of amazing.  I also just happened to have a skein of Sweet Georgia Trinity in Nightshade that perfectly complemented the Silky Targhee.  All of a sudden I had a sweater’s worth of worsted weight yarn.  Just enough yarn to do a 1999 Sweater from Tin Can Knits.  I cast on, adjusted the pattern to allow for sleeves to be knit in the Nightshade and the body in the Targhee, and away I went.

So what’s the problem?

  1. I would always always recommend against doing a sweater with a single.  Something this light and fluffy and unspun looking almost always pills when you look at it sideways.
  2. Lace, in a sweater, with a single, just screams a pilling nightmare of a sweater.
  3. I’m really afraid I’m going to have to walk around carrying a sweater stone with me wherever I go.
  4. I McGyvered the sleeves so that I could use the two different skeins of yarn in the pattern.  I just sort of winged it, and we know how that sort of thing usually goes.  There will be sewing up at the end of the sweater as I needed to work the yoke back and forth rather than in the round because of the 4 ends of yarn I was working with.
  5. I’m knitting the women’s small.  Which while it will technically fit me, it does not give me the 1-2″ of positive ease that the pattern recommends.  Then again, if it looks bad on me, it should fit Addie.  I hope.  I’m going to put it on some Try It On Tubing tonight to check.  I did a gauge swatch, so at least there’s that.

So basically what I’m saying is, “What could possibly go wrong?”