Sunday, December 20, 2015

Plugging Away

I've been slowly nibbling away at some ongoing projects.  I haven't spent as much time in the evenings knitting as I could have. I've been spending far too much time reading news and blogs on the internet instead.

But I did finish a cute little ghost for Halloween.
Pattern: Gus and Augustus. I used some spare Paton's Classic Wool for the body and an odd bit of black for the eyes.

I also finished some stripey plain stockinette socks. They'll enter the work sock rotation.

The current knitting queue includes the cabled KnitSpot sweater and some socks. On the sweater, I'm past the armholes now and working the left front.  Only the top of the right front and back, plus two sleeves and button bands to go.  Maybe I'll get it done by February.

The sock queue includes some 15 year old lace socks, Leonore from Caoua Coffee, and Elementary Watson. The latter two are travel knitting. I took Leonore to Atlanta on a business trip. I cast on Watson for an international trip since I had non-metal needles in the right size. I carefully got the toe cast on and worked about half the toe increases, then proceeded to leave the project bag on the coffee table when I left for the airport.  Fortunately I had not left my Kindle behind too.  Honestly I didnt' have much knitting time so didn't really miss it much.

So far this year I've managed to finish 9 projects: 6 pairs of socks, 1 baby sweater, 1 scarf, and 1 ghost. I might finish the lace socks, but only if I completely set aside the cabled sweater and right now the sweater is sort of fun.  I also frogged two sock projects that just weren't doing it for me. I finished the first sock of Randiriel, but it was far too snug to be comfortable. The Spokane Ducks pattern was knitting up ok, but I couldn't really see the stitch pattern in the yarn that shipped with the free pattern. It's gorgeous yarn that just needs to be something else.

Plans for 2016
I don't know what plans to make for 2016. There are two co-workers with babies arriving in the March/April time frame. I could make them sweaters or I could go with the smaller time and money investment and buy something. At some point, I will have to make these adorable booties, but maybe for friends and relatives not co-workers.
When I moved, I packed up all my sock yarn, all my lace yarn, and a selection of sweater projects. Maybe it would be reasonable to set a goal of 8 pairs of socks, plus a sweater and a scarf or shawl. I'll keep my non-buying habit going strong. I certainly don't need any more yarn.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sweater Progress

I've not gotten quite as far as I'd have liked, but have been busy with work and continued efforts to unpack.  Today I should be able to get a pattern repeat done. That might get me enough length to divide for the armholes.

The weather has taken a turn toward cold. It was in the upper 30s to lower 40s last night. I definitely could use a warm cardigan for errands and around the house.

In three weeks' time, I have a week-long business trip. I'll need to figure out what travel knitting will be suitable. There's an international flight involved so I'll probably pick a sock with plastic needles. Just a matter of figuring out which pattern and which yarn.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Another Sweater

I picked up a KnitSpot sweater pattern and yarn when passing through Canton, OH in August. I'm about halfway to the armholes now. I can't wait to wear it. It is the perfect fall sweater. Just as soon as I finish it.  The pattern is Mayan Puzzle. The yarn is Bare Naked Wools Kent DK in the color Tide Pool.

Before I started the sweater, I finished the Therapy scarf by Laura Aylor. I used leftovers of two different sock yarns plus a ball of Uluru that I picked up on a business trip. I still need to weave in the ends and block it.  I got a bit sidetracked by unpacking and starting a new job.


Even before I moved, I checked out the local yarn store, Fibre Space.  It's going to be a struggle to keep to my budget with all these luscious offerings!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

One Down, One to Go!

I started these socks fifteen years ago. In 2008, I gave up on them. I had trouble following the chart and kept having to rip back, so finally set them aside. I decided to frog them but never got around to actually unraveling them. I'm glad I didn't.

I love the color and they fit perfectly.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Decision Made

I decided to keep going on the existing projects rather than starting something new.  The Mystery Shawl is now in the first round of clue 2, where I have already discovered that I am off by two stitches.  I suspect I skipped or dropped a couple of yarnovers, which is easy enough to fix.  The yarn color doesn't show up well in the picture. It's a heathered green, gold, brown that fairly glistens in the sun.

The red Nylamb socks are also back to being an active project. It's hard for me to believe that I ditched this project. At the time I was knitting it, my skills probably found the lace difficult to follow. Now it is a piece of cake to follow the chart. I love this rich red color.

Fiber Stash Inventory
I finally got most of my spinning fiber stash inventory into Ravelry.  This meant making a mess of the living room for a couple of days while I sorted, photographed and logged things. I am coming to the conclusion that I shouldn't take the whole spinning stash with me when I temporarily move east. The hard part will be figuring out what I will take with me and how spinning goals will impact my knitting and sewing goals. I've already decided the floor loom stays here.  I wish I had more than 24 hours in a day....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

I finished up two pair of socks last week--got the ends run in on Drogon (they had been sitting for a couple of weeks) and finished re-knitting the foot of what I affectionately refer to as Froot Loop socks.  I initially knit the Froot Loops back in 2004 or 2005, but blew out the heel of one in 2014 and decided to rip back to fix it.  In looking at the original sock, the heel of it will need to be darned soon. Here's hoping I don't end up blowing out the 2nd heel the first time I wear these.

Now I'm trying to decide if I should keep going on my finishing kick or start something new.  I did just get the June installment of the Paradise Fibers Yarn Club.  There's a lovely skein of MJ Yarns Silken DK Weight in a stunning blue colorway named Cerulean Twilight.  The pattern they shipped with it is Aegaea from Little Nutmeg Productions, which would make a scarf suitable for wearing to the office with a blouse.(I'm slowly deciding that my new work wardrobe will feature scarves, rather than necklaces as an accessory.)

In the finishing queue, I have a pair of Lacy Arrow-Patterned socks in well-aged red Nylamb.  I started these in 2000 when my knitting was slow and tentative and I considered size 1 needles to be teeny tiny.  The yarn is an intense blue-red.   I also still have the two plain stockinette socks underway.  My Full Moon Mystery Shawl is patiently waiting in the middle of Clue 1.  It is another stunning design from Bad Cat Designs.  I don't know that I'd have the nerve to try one of Andrea's designs if it hadn't been a Mystery Knit-Along.  It's a lot less intimidating to only get a small piece at a time.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Progress and Inventory

 I spent part of last weekend inventorying my fiber stash in Ravelry.  I hoped that I'd be able to export the fiber stash list to Excel but that functionality doesn't exist for fiber stash, just yarn stash. It's probably for the best. It may not be good to know how big it is.

Speaking of stash, although I have avoided buying yarn at shops (except for the one ball of yarn purchased in Knoxville, TN at the yarn shop located 1/2 mile from my hotel), my stash has continued to grow faster than I knit.  I have continued to find yarn that I hadn't put into my stash listing on Ravelry. To make matters worse, the additions from the Paradise Fiber yarn club and the Cookie A sock club are outstripping what I use up.  I think I've been fooling myself about how fast I knit.  Looking back over my project list in Ravelry, I only finish 5 or 6 projects a year. I was thinking it was closer to 10 or 12.

WsIP and FOs (and Frogs)

I finished the first of the Randiriel socks. The yarn is from Lorna's Laces. I'm going to frog it. The sock is tight across the instep and keeps wanting to twist around my foot.  It just doesn't fit my foot well. This is the third attempt at using this yarn. I'm about to give up on it and purge it from my stash.

This was one of the Paradise Fibers Yarn Club offerings. I like the yarn and the color (Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock in Spokane River Walk). I don't like the pattern-All of My Ducks in a Row. The bobbles are a nuisance to knit and they don't show up as well as I'd like for the effort they take. I'm sure I can find a pattern that will suit this yarn better. I'll frog this one too.

This is my new plain stockinette, mindless knitting. I'm almost halfway through the first sock. The yarn makes blue, green, and tan stripes with gray/white dots in between. I knit the leg portion of the first sock while at the Mid-Columbia Symphony performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony a few weeks back.

These are the Girl On Fire socks from Cookie A. The yarn is Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet. The color is a brilliant fuschia named Goin Steady. This wasn't the yarn shipped with this pattern, but I didn't think the color of the shipped yarn quite matched what the pattern needed.

I also finished a Baby Surprise Sweater for a co-worker's first baby. I just need to sew on the buttons and hand it over to the proud grandpa (also a co-worker) to deliver.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Some progress

I managed to finish a pair of basic ribbed socks that have been on the needles for a while.  I ended up initially with two different foot lengths, but managed to get that sorted out.  These are a bit more snug than I normally like around the foot, but they should wear well.  They are most definitely fraternal twins.  The yarn is some well aged Patons Kroy FX.

Because I'm not nearly busy enough, I decided to knit a co-worker a baby sweater. The baby is due May 15th. Fortunately a Baby Yoda sweater doesn't take long and I have some travel time coming up. Of course, if I keep starting, frogging and re-starting I'll never finish it.  I think I'm finally set on the fourth start.

Once the baby sweater is out of the way, the next WIP that I'll hammer away on will be the All of My Ducks in a Row socks.

 Or I might pick up Randiriel again.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Back in the Saddle

I didn't let the sweater size thing derail me too long. I thought about it for a week, then cast on again with a larger needle and a slightly larger size.  After knitting up the ribbing again, I also decided that the ribbing pulled in too much for the bottom band, so cast on the full body count of stitches.  I think it will hang much better now.

Spent the past week on travel and got past the heel on my Girl on Fire second sock.  I got in a good bit of knitting at the hotel and in the airport. I thought I might get farther, but I got tired and decided setting it aside was better than goofing it up.

I started a new plain stockinette sock since I couldn't find the old one and I needed mindless knitting. This one is also a Sockotta cotton blend in a tan/green/blue self-striping color.

Ordinarily I find myself having startitis.  I'm actually getting agitated because I can't get things finished fast enough.  The next couple weeks and weekends ought to provide me with some knitting time so perhaps I can get the almost finished socks knocked out pretty quickly.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Targeted Sweater Dimensions

My favorite light weight cardigan has the following dimensions:

  • 42 inch chest, with fronts overlapped by 1 inch. The back is 22 inches across. Each front is 11 inches at the underarm.
  • 40 inch waist
  • 44 inch at bottom ribbing
  •  23.5 inch length
  • 9 inch armhole
  • 22.5 inch sleeve length with 2 inches ribbing and 8 inch cuff opening.
  • 2.5 inch drop from back neck to front neck
  • 1 inch from bottom of the sweater to the bottom button and 3 inches between buttons.
This is what I'm trying to re-create when I knit a basic sweater myself.  In principle, it shouldn't be very hard to accomplish this. However, if I cannot figure out how to knit to the same gauge as the gauge swatch, a successful sweater will be impossible.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Demoralized by a Sweater

Well, I'm glad I blocked the body of the sweater. The gauge swatch blocked out at 5 sts per inch. The actual sweater blocked to 6 sts per inch. I wanted a sweater that was in the range of 40-42 inch bust. I got a sweater that's 32-33 inches. While I could block aggressively and probably pick up a couple inches of width, there's no way I'd get an additional 8 inches.

The body of the sweater as knit is also only 19 inches long. I'd much rather have a body length of 24 inches so the top of the sweater at least hits the top of my jeans/high hip. The cropped cardi look is not something I want to wear and I don't think it's flattering on my middle-aged, overweight body.

On the positives, I really do like the yarn--very soft and comfy in feel. The feel of the fabric at 6 inches to the inch is quite firm and should stand up to daily use without stretching out. The swatch had a bit softer hand and I think I like it better, but I'm not sure I'll be able to just go up another needle size and make it all work.  The pessimist/realist in me just says the gauge will end up being off in the other direction (too loose) and the end result will be a sweater that's too big and also unwearable.

I also like the look of the twisted rib button bands and ribbing.  It's a sharp detail and it's nice and firm.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to manage a neat, even edge, but it turned out very well without a whole lot of worrying or tweaking on my part.

 I'm not sure what to do next.  It appears that I just can't get sweaters for me right. Interestingly enough I can successfully produce sweaters for other people (babies, children, and adults) that meet gauge and apparently fit just fine.  For me, I've goofed up the swatch to sweater transition five times in a row, I'm not confident in my ability to consistently produce an entire sweater at a specific gauge.  Whatever I produce in the gauge swatch is never what comes out in the actual garment.  Even more frustrating, some times the blocked sweater gauge is looser and sometimes it is tighter, though more often than not, the blocked sweater gauge is tighter than the blocked swatch.  There are over a dozen sweater projects currently stored in my yarn stash, waiting for time/attention. Now I'm afraid to tackle any of them for fear I'll end up spending (wasting) a significant amount of knitting time on a project that will once again end up frogged. :-(

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cardigan Body and First Drogon Done!

The body of the Algonquin cardigan is currently laying flat to dry.  I did a three needle bind off for the shoulders and almost immediately plopped it into a nice warm bath.  With my rather poor luck on maintaining gauge on projects larger than socks, I thought it wise to check now before knitting the sleeves.

I finished off the first Drogon sock last weekend and went ahead and washed it up too, along with the Girl on Fire first sock.  The latter grew a bit.  It may need a healthy machine wash.  The fuschia color bled pretty heavily in the wash water, but was minimal in the rinse water.  I hope it continues to diminish quickly.

The Full Moon mystery shawl remains stalled since getting halfway through the first clue.  I carry it around with me, but haven't wanted to dive in further yet.

Monday, March 09, 2015

I Stuck with the Cardigan

The first Drogon sock continues to languish.  On the other hand, the left front of the Algonquin Cardigan is now completed and I'm an inch or so into the right front.  I'll knit on it a bit more while I wind down for the night. With a bit of luck, I might get the whole body finished by the end of the weekend.  There is something about sleeves though that seem to take forever and the 2nd sleeve takes twice as long as the first....

Since I had the ballwinder out to wind the next skein for the Algonquin Cardigan, I went ahead and wound the yarn for the next sock project too.  I've decided to turn a bright aqua skein of Colinette Jitterbug into a pair of Leonore socks by Caoua Coffee.  However, I'm not going to cast on until I finish the Drogon Socks and possibly the Autumn Socks.

Did I mention yet that I was snared by a Mystery Shawl Knit Along?  BadCatDesigns' Full Moon, in honor of the Chinese New Year.  I've knit half of the first clue.  I'm using Elegant Yarns Ethereal in the colorway Olive. The yarn looks green in some light and brown in others. There are glints of gold and red.  It reminds me of spring growth emerging from the cold mud of winter.  I've got 2 skeins for a total of 1600 yards.  I'm not planning to use beads, though I suppose I could change my mind once I get to the charts with beads. 

Sunday, March 08, 2015

First Sock Still Lingers

Well, I didn't quite get the first sock finished. The trip home was mostly sleeping instead of knitting.  And I've been sick the last couple days so very little knitting has been accomplished.  The cardigan is now to the armholes and I've divided into fronts/back.  Can't decide if I want to keep going on the cardigan or try to knock out that silly first sock today.

With any luck, my fever will go away by the end of the day and I'll actually be able to go to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Travel yields knitting progress

For the first time in a long time, I actually got a significant amount of knitting done while traveling.  Most of this was accomplished during flight delays, which made for some exceedingly long travel days, but still it was nice to hammer through a good 1/3 of my first Drogon sock.  Tonight I'll finish off the first sock and maybe cast on the 2nd of the pair.

The worsted weight cardigan from Morehouse Merino is about 1/2 way to the armpits.  This has been my evening knitting when I'm too tired to read at the end of long days at work.  It's difficult (though not impossible) to mess up stockinette stitch!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Started a Sweater

I have been feeling the need for a comfy, warm, snuggly every day cardigan. Something of light to moderate weight that is like an old favorite sweatshirt, but in cardigan form. Suitable for jeans and a t-shirt but not too casual for khakis and a button down shirt. Neutral color.

Last year I knit a plain laceweight stockinette cardigan from a  Morehouse Farm kit (their Lace Cardigan pattern).  After I knit the entire sweater, minus the button bands, I washed and blocked it. That's when I discovered that the gauge loosened up considerably with washing and I had a sweater that was a good six inches larger than I wanted or expected. Although I was disappointed and have set the sweater aside for now, I'll still re-knit it as light weight cardigans are great for the office and for travel.

In assessing my wardrobe recently, I noticed that my "sweatshirt sweaters" that I wear most weekends are getting a bit tired looking.  It'll be time to replace them in the next year or so. A cozy warm sweater in a springy soft wool seemed like just the ticket for a satisfying, simple knit. I picked the Algonquin Cardigan, also from Morehouse Farm. I bought the kit during their annual kit sale a year ago, choosing the oatmeal color. If this turns out well, I may buy the same yarn in a dyed color and knit another one.
Photo by Morehouse Farm

I did learn from my earlier mistake and knit a gauge swatch and washed/blocked it. I'll go up a needle size from the pattern recommendations and down a sweater size to end up with a 41-42 inch chest on the sweater. The swatch had a nice hand to it once it was washed and I'm very much looking forward to wrapping myself up in the finished product.  With a bit of luck, I'll be able to get the ribbing knit today. (I am considering reducing the ribbing to about half the depth shown in the picture.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What's in Progress

Although I haven't had much knitting time lately, I have been better about sneaking in a row or two of knitting here and there.

I did manage to finish the first Girl on Fire sock
The yarn is a very intense, bright fuschia Plucky Knitter Plucky Feet that was a CookieA Sock Club selection a while back. I wasn't as fond of the patterns that were recommended for this particular yarn so am using a different Sock Club pattern instead. I suppose that balances things out somehow.

My currently active sock project is Drogon, another CookieA Sock Club pattern. The yarn is Cephalopod Yarns Skinny Bugga. The color is a difficult to describe dark brown with reddish/purple undertones, named Tyrian purple. I hadn't used this yarn before and really like the definition it gives the twisted stitch pattern. I've started the heel flap of the first sock. This project should be my first Finished Object of 2015. I'm hoping that I'll get it knocked out in the next two weeks or so to stay on track for the 15 in 2015 goal with Haldeblog.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Stash Enlargement Moratorium

I made a frightening discovery today.  I exported my Ravelry stash database to a spreadsheet and added things up. If the database is accurate (and I suspect it is missing some of the purchases as well as doesn't have all the FOs substracted out), I currently have 103,566.5 yards of yarn in 379.75 skeins living in my stash room.  That doesn't include the over 100 pounds of spinning fiber. 

Holy Cow!!! This explains why it seems like my yarn is bursting out at the seams.  That's waaaaaaaay too big. I could see having maybe 10-15,000 yards at the most. So, with the exception of the two yarn/project clubs I'm currently in (Cookie A Sock Club and Paradise Fibers Yarn Club), I am going to cease purchasing yarn and fiber for the forseeable future. The only possible exception to this will be if I need to make a gift for someone and don't have suitable yarn in the stash.

So, let's see how quickly I can knit things down!  At ~400 yards per pair of socks this may take a while.... (there are 40+ pair of unknit socks in the stash so even knitting them all up won't make a huge dent. It's the unknit shawls that really add to the yardage.)

Friday, January 02, 2015

2014 Year in Review and 2015 New Starts

Another year has drawn to a close and I decided to share what I've knit in the past year.

Ravelry says I've finished nine projects:
  • Wendy Johnson's Shetland Pi Shawl. Knit in Misti Alpaca Lace Handpaint.

  • Ganseys for my niece and nephew. These were original designs using the templates and design guidance in Knitting Ganseys. Sadly, my nephew's sweater only fit him for about 15 minutes. Oh well. Maybe they'll get donated to someone else.

  •  Plain stockinette socks in a lovely striped cotton blend yarn. I wasn't sure there would be enough in the skein for a full sock so I made contrasting toes.  While knitting these, I realized that I hadn't previously made a plain stockinette sock.

      • Pomatomus sock in a buttery yellow Shibui Knits Staccato.

      • Spock Socks in SweetGeorgia Yarns CashLuxe Fine, color blood orange. These are part of the 2013 Cookie A Sock Club.

      • Newton Socks by Cookie A in Indigodragonfly MerGoat Sock. Color E Plurbus Nom Nom Nom. These were part of the 2013 Cookie A Sock Club.

      • Beaded Rib Socks (my own pattern) in Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool Quarters, color Huckleberry. It's my go-to generic pattern that works well when coupled with Mountain Colors yarns.

      No significant spinning projects completed, other than finishing up the red/yellow/blue roving I blogged about previously. I still haven't decided what the yarn might become.

      Looking Forward to 2015

      I'll start 2015 with my customary frogging of the projects that didn't work out in 2014 or were otherwise abandoned. This includes the Morehouse Merino Laceweight Cardigan that turned out large enough for me and a friend (if the friend had very long arms), a Baby Sophisticate cardigan with not enough yarn, 

      There is a 15 in 2015 knitalong being organized by HaldeCraft and String Theory Colorworks.
      The idea is to start and finish 15 projects weighing at least 50 grams during the year.  Any yarn (or spinning fiber).  Any pattern. This won't help me finish any of the currently underway projects but it might light a fire under any new things. I have already started Drogon by Cookie A in Skinny Bugga, color Tyrian Mollusk.  I could use another dozen socks in my drawer but I'd like to also successfully complete a sweater for myself--either re-doing the Morehouse Merino Laceweight Cardigan or having another try at the Elizabeth Zimmermann Green Sweater or February Fitted Sweater.