Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Finishing Streak

I'm taking a week off from work and have been catching up on some knitting while clearing things off my DVR queue. I finished two pair of socks in two days, including a pair of socks that I started around 2000. When I started knitting them, the Lacy Arrow-patterned Socks were farther outside my skill zone than I expected and I had a lot of trouble with the lace pattern. I spent more time ripping things out than actually making forward progress. I decided in 2008 to mark them as frogged in Ravelry, but never got around to actually ripping out the 1/2 to 2/3 of the first sock that I had completed. I finally finished the first sock in 2015, still having some trouble with the pattern if I was at all distracted. Between 2015 and 2017, I managed to get 3/4 of the second sock done. After finishing the beaded rib socks the day before, it seemed like a good time to sit down with the Lacy Arrow socks and see how far I could get. It was much faster than I expected.

The yarn is vintage Brunswick Nylamb that I traded a spinning book for back in the 1990s. It's a bright blue-red that reminds me of fresh blood.

The other socks that I finished were the most recent mindless knitting socks. Beaded rib pattern with Mountain Colors Weavers Wool Quarters in Gold Rush. I knit one sock with a 60 stitch foot and got stripes. The second sock I knit with a 64 stitch foot and got some pooling. Not enough of a difference to rip and re-knit the foot, but certainly a reminder to check my notes when picking up a project that I haven't worked on in a while. It even is a case for not putting projects down for extended periods of time.


I also finished the swatch I was knitting for the Queen Susan Shawl. I did not knit the full swatch pattern of one repeat of the shawl center. I knit about half the vertical repeat, cast off, and then washed and blocked it to see if the yarn halo would obscure the pattern too much. The good news is that the pattern does stand out quite nicely, even with the halo. The bad news is that I applied steam after unpinning the swatch and it immediately collapsed on itself again. I'll use this tidbit of information when caring for the finished project. Last night I took the leap and cast on the 271 stitches for the center of the shawl, then knit two rows. I'm now ready to start the patterning. I'd like to complete four to eight rows per week when I'm not traveling.
I've also cast on the second of the Leonore socks in Colinette Jitterbug. These will become my distracted knitting project. There's no way I'll be able to knit the Queen Susan Shawl while talking on the phone or paying much attention to the TV or an audiobook.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Force is With My Socks


I finally finished my Jedi Mind Trick Socks. These are in a very dark green color that remind me of the swamps of Dagobah. The yarn is Grinning Gargoyle Skinny Super Twist, which was a Cookie A sock club yarn in 2014. These socks were started in January 2015 as my travel knitting project for the Inaugural Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon. I finally finished them after the 2nd Dark Side Half Marathon in April.

The pattern has options to have the twisted stitch pattern arc across the instep or to go straight down the foot. While finishing the second foot, I completely forgot about shifting the pattern over until I was knitting the toe. I was not in the mood to rip out the foot and redo it, so now I have a pair of fraternal socks and I'm absolutely ok with that. I love the color and they fit well too.

Current projects include Owlie socks for travel knitting, a garter stitch cardigan for me, and the Queen Susan Shawl (or at least the swatch for it). I'd purchased the yarn for a Mother's Day Shawl KAL since I found myself unable to resist the lovely colors, but the pattern immediately had multiple errata corrections that caused me to lose interest in trying to get it sorted out. I'll pick a different shawl pattern instead. I have a nice tan color that might make a good three color combo for Color Affection.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Ohio Sweater

I have now successfully finished my first adult sweater in recent years. The sweater is Mayan Puzzle by Anne Hanson at KnitSpot. The yarn is from the KnitSpot yarn company, Bare Naked Wools. It is Kent DK in the color Tide Pool.
It is called The Ohio Sweater as I picked up the yarn and pattern while driving through Ohio en route to DC. I realized that I could stop by Canton on a day when the KnitSpot boutique was open, so altered my route and decided to celebrate my new job with a sweater quantity of yarn.

I really like the finished sweater and even managed to get it sewed up and buttons on it fairly quickly after I finished the knitting. I'm unhappy that within three or four wearings the sleeves have started pilling along the underside of the arms, where they rub against the body. It's a brand new sweater that already is starting to look raggedy. I will definitely think twice about using this yarn on another project.
 
I would definitely consider knitting the pattern again, though I would likely make the cable pattern symmetrical on each side of the body.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016 Roundup and 2017 Plans

As of mid-day on 31 December, I have finished six projects this year: 3 pairs of socks for me, 1 baby sweater and 1 scarf. Currently, in my active project queue I have three pairs of socks, two adult sweaters and a shawl. I am halfway through knitting the buttonband on an adult cardigan. Also lurking in the WIP/UFO pile are two half finished baby sweaters (one of which is a patterned nordic sweater for learning/practicing two-handed knitting), three or four pairs of socks, three adult sweaters, and probably a shawl.  All told, I knit up just over 4000 yards of yarn into finished projects and another 500 yards on WsIP.

For the coming year, I've got a hankering to try brioche stitch and have purchased yarn for two-color brioche projects. I also want to finish some of the adult-sized sweaters I have started. This will require finally getting my gauge sorted out and perhaps if I focus on a single project at a time, I won't have so much trouble with gauge consistency and also with making good progress. Splitting my time between a multitude of projects generally results in little progress on any of them and plenty of drive to start something else new. Paradoxical but true.

Over the past day or so, I have re-ordered my Ravelry queue to more accurately reflect my knitting priorities and the parts of my stash that are currently living with me. I'll keep with my practice of traveling with moderately difficult socks to keep my hands occupied but will target my knitting efforts at colors for work socks. At home I'll work on more complex knitting or larger projects like adult sweaters. With less goofing around on the internet and more audiobooks, I think I can make a bigger dent in my local stash and get more projects finished. I think I can largely avoid all yarn purchases, with the possible exception of spending gift certificates.

I haven't figured out yet if I'll set spinning goals. There is certainly some fiber I want to finish spinning this year, even if it means adding to my yarn stash. Once I finish the current batch of plain merino roving and the brown Shetland, I may dive into the luscious Coopworth that I've been saving for a while. A nice light worsted or DK weight would make a lovely sweater and I'm sure I can find a good pattern in my overly large Ravelry queue and library.

At the end of the year, my stash contains 142,048 yards of yarn. It appears that I added approximately 20,000 yards of yarn, though I know some of that was due to missing items in my Rav inventory and I did purchase 7000  yards of cobweb weight yarn with which to knit a Queen Susan Shawl. I also picked up a small stash of crochet cotton for a dollar a ball. My plan is to knit more yardage than I purchase in 2017, resulting in a net reduction in stash size, no matter how small. Adding to my yarn stash via spinning up more fiber won't count. I haven't decided if this means I'll skip MD Sheep and Wool or not. It was a fun day out.