FO! Matt’s Socks

I love when I finish something, especially when it’s a project that involves knitting 2 of something. Matt’s socks are finally finished, and his sweater is much-loved. Pictures of him in it are a bit tricky since it still gets dark early. He loves it and it looks nice, but I think I made it too short even though I added a few repeats. He is 6’4″, but good grief. The only thing I can think to do is to cut the ribbing off, slip the stitches to a spare needle, knit a new bottom ribbing with a few more repeats and graft. However, I don’t have that much yarn left, and I don’t want to knit any more of that cable patter. It’s a lovely sweater and pattern, but I will burn it if I have to knit any more.

The socks aren’t giving me any trouble, though.

He isn’t wearing them to work. He’s actually never worn hand-knit socks out of the house. He says that he feels fancy when he wears them and wants to save that feeling for home, so he wears them like slippers. Fair enough. That should ensure that they’ll last a while. In the meantime, I can knit up my sock stash and work on #operationsockdrawer2015.

Every couple of years, I get on a sock knitting kick and start plugging away at a few pairs at a time. I can’t explain the feeling, but I just can’t get enough of sock yarn, and not just to hoard, but to knit and finish pairs. It’s great to load up the sock drawer and I know that as soon as I get the burned out feeling, it’s time to put the DPNs away and get back to sweaters or hats. I have project cycles it seems.

Crocheting blanket pieces is another cycle I go through. I got a few hanks (baby-sized bundles) of Lion Brand Pound of Love from Matt’s grandmother and I added a few more colors to see what I could come up with. The swatching was a great exercise in how to figure out what not to make. The Jan Eaton 200 Crochet Blocks book had some great ideas, and this block stuck. That’s when you know it’s the one, when you can’t shake the idea of a whole blanket in the swatch. I tried a few other patterns, but kept coming back to this one and I’m so glad that I did.

Each square is about 7 1/2″ wide, so 9 squares wide and 11 squares long is a good size for a queen-sized bed, with some extra width & length. I’ve still got to finish a quilt top, half of a quilt, and I have a Bartlett yarns/Felted Tweed blanket I began crocheting. I just need one more cone of the Bartlett in Light Heather and I can finish that sucker. We have free heat where we live (yesssssss), but obviously I’m subconsciously preparing for when we have to pay for heat. Matt teases me by calling me a lizard and asks if I need a hot rock to lie on. Cold hands (and legs and body), warm heart! #blanketfort2014 has become #blanketfort2015.

All cables, all the time

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Now that a couple of test knitting projects have been completed, I can get back to blogging and I can get back to the pile of cabled goodness that sits in my knitting basket. Up top is the Erin Cardigan from Kate Gagnon Osborn. I’ve been knitting this thing off and on for a while now and I’m not bored at all. I mat be transitioning from a product knitter to a process knitter. There’s something about the pattern that’s so intuitive and fluid, and the Mountain Meadow Wool Cody I’m using to knit it is simply amazing. It’s not too stiff, but it’s a yarn with body and character. It’s yarn with a capital “Y” as Kate would say. Even though I’m not using the called-for Savannah, I wouldn’t be surprised if I knit one in that yarn later on down the line, and I rarely knit the same thing twice.

 

Woodsmoke is an amazing color, but the Pink Grapefruit is more up my bright, eye-popping alley.

The next thing I’ll finish is most likely going to be Matt’s Timberline sweater. The Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Worsted is officially my go-to worsted weight yarn. Cascade 220 has a soft spot in the hearts of a lot of knitters, but it’s not that great when it comes to wear for me. It pills and starts to look a bit shabby too soon after finishing the project.

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ANYWAY, the sweater. Leave it to me to get the cables memorized once I’ve finished the sleeves, fronts, and half the back. The cold weather in Philly and Kirsten’s progress on her Timberline has been prompting me to finish it. The encouraging hearts on Instagram make me wonder why I don’t join more knitalongs. The whole point of a KAL is that you’ll be more likely to finish a project if someone else is knitting it. Maybe I should make it a point to be more social with my knitting; join some KALs, maybe start a KAL, and just enjoy the process with friends a lot more.

A feature of this sweater that I almost forgot to mention is the button band. Nearly every cardigan I’ve knit has the button bands picked up and knit after you finish everything else. This is the second time in 10 years (when I started knitting again) that I’ve knit the band in order to seam it on later. It gives a clean finish to the edges and I love it. Maybe I should incorporate that in my next cardigan.

Speaking of next cardigans, I got more of the Shepherd Wool yarn, but this time I got the Fine. Deb offers great customer service and the yarn comes very quickly! I just knit up and washed a swatch and am getting 7.5 stitches and 9.5 rows on US2 in Stockinette.

shepherd fine swatch

(For the love of God, people, SWATCH. “Swatches lie!” Or…..or maybe you didn’t knit a big enough swatch and now your kid’s sweater is a POANG cozy.) So, now that I have an idea of what I’m getting, I can proceed with my great maniacal desire to knit a fingering-weight cabled cardigan. Einstein is credited as saying, “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” Alright, Al, let’s do this!

P.S.: Click here to see what books & magazine back issues I have for sale! Each issue is $4, the books are $7, and I offer free shipping to the US & Canada.

DESTASH!

Do you need needles? Do you know someone who might need needles? The purge/organization is continuing and resulting in the posting of a ton of circular knitting needles on eBay. Take a look if there’s something you’re interested in. I also have a Schacht Cricket Loom (the 10″ one) for sale. There comes a point when you realize that you don’t have the time/space/mental wherewithal to have a certain number of crafts take up residence in your life.

Without further ado…

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Schacht 10″ Cricket Loom…$125 (Buy It Now price)

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This entire bundle of Addi Turbo needles in various sizes…$147 (Buy It Now price)

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Lantern Moon 26″ needles in various wood types…$91 (Buy It Now price)

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Addi Turbo 24″ circulars only…$84 (Buy It Now price)

School’s in session

School started for me this past Monday. So far, it’s going pretty well. Since so many people of varying computer proficiency and experience are taking online classes, the first course for anyone taking online courses is one to get the student acclimated to taking classes and utilizing the interface. We use Blackboard, which is pretty much the standard for online courses, and there’s a whole YouTube support channel, so it’s a piece of cake to get help if you need it.

There’s been a ton of icebreaker assignments and discussion questions. Our first unit’s discussion questions went from asking us about our major and our motivation for taking classes and jumped to asking us which movie/book/tv show we’d recommend and why. I accepted that context better than the job interview I once had, a group interview, that asked me what CD I would bring with me to a deserted island and why. This wasn’t for a job at a music store by the way. Funnily enough, I said “mix CD” for my answer and I was told that it wasn’t an acceptable answer.

A job interviewer thought it was professional enough to ask me to name a CD to take to an island, and had standards for what answers were god enough.

I didn’t take that job in case you were wondering.

I also finished up some secret test knitting and now we’re back to the regularly-scheduled program of “Jen knits everything in sight”.

I’m still plugging away at the back of my Erin cardigan in the Mountain Meadow Cody for the Fringe and Friends Knitalong. It’s listed as a DK, but could also function as a light worsted. These cables are so squishy and I can’t wait to wear it. The pattern is one that gets you into a groove once you get started, so it’s better for TV knitting than it looks. That is, unless I’m watching The Walking Dead. That show would have me knitting worsted weight at 10 stitches to the inch. Just when they’ve gotten out of the 8th frying pan, the group finds themselves in the fire. I guess I shouldn’t use those terms given what’s happened in the last season.

Purging has continued, but I haven’t found new homes for as many books/magazines as I would have liked. K has some new books to enjoy (her reaction at seeing In The Garden of Beasts in the box I gave to her, “Ooh, Nazis!”), but I’m putting some on my Amazon page, also. If you’re interested in any of them or know someone who might be, check them out. Whatever doesn’t sell will just get donated to the thrift store, and my yarn will go to Interim House. Check out their website and click the link that takes you to the Knitting Ladies’ page. Any knitters who have yarn to destash/donate might consider donating to them!

Books (and a camera!) for sale

I’ve still got some secret knitting that I can’t photograph or blog about, even though I want to elaborate. I can say that I’m enjoying what I’m knitting. I also can’t wait to get back to my Erin cardigan for the #fringeandfriendsknitalong.

You can read about the details here and it’s still not too late to join up if you want. There’s no deadline for the actual knitting, but you can be part of the contest and read posts from a great panel of experts until the end of October.

I also recently moved our bookshelf and cleared off my desk.

This is after I moved the bookcase out of the corner where it stood vertically, and before I put the books back on the shelves. It’s still a mess, but I’m getting ready for school. October 20th is closing in and I can’t wait! With that said, I have some books and a camera to get rid of. Check out what I’ve got here!

Off I go to do more secret knitting and the Sisyphean task of picking Cheerios off the carpet.

Autumn is coming…

I’m surrounded by various works in progress, but if I stick to my finishing plan, I could be swimming in sweaters come September October. The number of pairs of socks that are waiting to be knit are filling up my knitting basket on the side of the couch. That’s nothing to say of the bag filled with crochet squares, the drawer filled with yarn, and the yarn/fiber/fabric bin in the closet. Oh, and I started cutting fabric scraps into 2.5″ squares to be pieced together and turned into another quilt. BLANKET FORT 2014!

This is a #tbt pullover, nothing fancy, just some stripes. It’s Fibre Company Road To China Light in Aquamarine, Citrine, Malachite, Peridot, Smoky Quartz, and Garnet. I think I intended for it to have saddle shoulders. I’d know for sure if I kept my notes with the sweater. Always keep the patterns & notes with the garment. Keeping them in a book in a separate place only works if you don’t have a stack of notebooks and you’re not sure which one has the numbers you need.

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Another project I’m anxious to finish now is Larch. Chelsea of Figs & Things just finished hers and it’s serving as a huge push for me to finish mine. I’ve divided for the armholes and am currently knitting the fronts at the same time. Fingers crossed that I don’t chicken out and end up with a vest.

WIP Wednesday

Today is WIP Wednesday!

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I’m still plugging away at the White Pine cardigan, and I’ve joined an informal Spring Cleaning KAL hosted by Ness from Bunnies & Bettas. The point is to finally finish those projects that have been lingering for one reason or another. I feel like every project I have is one that lingers, but I’m getting better at making time to knit. I think I cherish the free moments I have to craft/read/bake a lot more these days.

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I’m still working on the body, but I’ve finished the decreases and have one increase coming up in a dozen rows or so. Then, it’s time to knock out the sleeves before joining them to the body for the caps to be knit raglan-style. Something about getting to the sleeve portion of a sweater (after you’ve knit the body as opposed to starting with the sleeves) makes the finish line a little brighter, a little closer. I can see myself wearing it and that spurs me on even more!

When I’m not knocking out rows on that, I’m still having fun with cross stitching. I have all of my floss wound and sorted by number according to the DMC color card, and I checked off the colors I already have so that I don’t buy what I don’t immediately need.

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This looks like a lot of colors, but I have a couple hundred colors to go before I have all of the DMC colors. The fox is almost finished; I just have to finish the body and I’ll have pictures (and, hopefully, a pattern) soon!