Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Bit of a Finishing Spree

I'm not sure what came over me over the long weekend, but I managed to finish up two projects, both of them for Rainbow. First, there was her new brioche cowl, which I was aiming to get done in time for her to wear it skiing on Sunday. I managed that with plenty of time to spare though not much yarn -- those little snippets you see here were all that was left after binding off and weaving in the ends.


The colors are, in reality, a bit brighter than this, but I think the winter light combined with the fact that the base yarn was a dark gray make it really hard to capture them. I didn't use a pattern for this; I just cast on until I had enough stitches to comfortably fit around a 16 inch needle and then worked in brioche until I was almost out of yarn, then bound off. It turned out a bit wider and shorter than I would have liked, but Rainbow was elated by it and reported that it kept her very warm while skiing with no itchiness.

Not long after that was done, I finished up her new pair of socks -- and this time the stripes match up perfectly!


Pattern: Vanilla Is the New Black by Anneh Fletcher
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in Hibiscus
Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm) Addi Sock Rockets, magic loop
Started/Completed: December 25, 2017/January 13, 2018
Mods: used backward-loop m1s instead of lifted m1s

These really did not take much time at all to knit; they were started when we went to the movies on Christmas Day, but then I don't think I touched them again until the day we came home from our trip, so most of the knitting has been done during my lunch breaks the past week. I made the pattern again at Rainbow's request, and I once again made the legs rather long so that they're nearly knee socks on her. I think you could say that she likes them -- this was her reaction upon receiving them:


If all goes according to plan this evening, I should have another FO by my next post -- a baby hat that's already at least halfway done. I didn't bother taking an in-progress photo because with something so small all you can see is the needles poking everywhere, but this is the pattern I'm using. I'm also using all scraps and leftovers from my stash!

I did cast on one new project for me over the weekend, and it's the infinity cowl I was planning with the giant skein of handspun. I haven't gotten very far, but I like what I have.


It looks like I will get some stripes, and I think the brioche stitch will help to blend the transitions really well. This is one that I'm in for the long haul; I'm working it on size 3/3.25 mm needles so as to have a relatively dense fabric and a finished cowl that's not enormous, but that means I have 250 stitches on the needles, so even one round take a bit of time. The good news is that this is simple enough that I can pick it up and knit a bit on it whenever the mood strikes without having to think too much.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Making Up for Lost Time

Usually when I return from my December vacation, I am anxious to spend extra hours at my wheel because I've gone a couple of weeks without spinning and missed it terribly. This year was no exception. Over the past week, while there has been a fair amount of the usual knitting, I've definitely spent bonus hours at my Lendrum. Aside from just getting reacquainted after the weeks away, I've been wanting to spin more to get the yarn done for my handspun Boxy because I'm anxious to start the knitting. There's still quite a lot of spinning to do, but as of yesterday I have finished the first bobbin of skein number three, which will be an 8 oz. skein.


I think the entire bobbin took me four to five hours to spin, so that means I can probably get the next two done in the next two weeks if I continue my current spinning schedule. There are still two more skeins to spin after this one is done, one of which will be another 8 oz.-er, so I think if I want to get all the spinning done in a reasonable amount of time, I really need to stay focused (and that means not getting distracted by the new fiber that's arrived over the past several weeks).

Meanwhile, I finished up two knitting projects yesterday, so that means I'm ready to cast on something new -- and this something new will be my skein of fiber minis.


That's a standard skein of sock yarn next to it, to give you an idea of just how big it is. My plan is to knit another big brioche infinity cowl, but I'll be working on small needles so that the fabric stays dense and the cowl doesn't overwhelm me. If all goes according to plan, I will be casting on later today.

Tomorrow the entire family has off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and it sounds like I will be spending at least part of it teaching a friend to spin! She's already a knitter but recently started doing some needle felting and then fell down the spinning rabbit hole. She's got some supplies ordered but as I have plenty of fiber on hand, I told her to come over and play. I've also convinced her to come with me to Maryland Sheep & Wool this year, so I'm hoping to have her spinning well on her own by then so she can take full advantage of all the fiber and tools at the festival.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Another Ending

I'm sorry to say that this post brings news of yet another LYS closing. Last Saturday was the last day of business for Knit One, and I made one last trip there with my friend Amy as everything in the store was 50% off. I didn't necessarily need any more yarn, but part of me want to go because Knit One was my LYS when I first got obsessively into knitting, back when I lived by myself in an apartment very close by. Despite the fact that I hadn't been to the shop in years and didn't feel much of a connection to it any longer, I did feel sad when I heard it was closing because it played a special role in a key part of my knitting career.

As you would expect, there wasn't much left in the way of stock when we got there and less still in terms of yarn I'd actually be interested in buying. But I did find a few skeins to come home with me, all intended to be used for Rainbow. First, I found three skeins of Araucania Huasco, a worsted weight merino in a lovely pale blue. With a bit more than 650 yards, I think that should be enough to do a sweater for her (we're currently eyeing the Gone Astray cardigan).


I also found this lone skein of Trekking XXL in shades of purple that will do very nicely for another pair of socks or a hat.


Finally, because buttons are always needed and can be so hard to find, I bought a tube of these clear plastic buttons because they seemed like they would go with anything. I have a total of 20 with the one that was connected to the top of the tube, so that should be enough for several sweaters.


I am still plugging away on my WIPs, though I've got one more than I did the last time I posted because I have cast on for Rainbow's cowl using the yarn we dyed. She is thrilled with how the colors turned out, which in turn makes me quite happy.


This is currently the top priority of my WIPs because I'd like to have it finished by the weekend in time for the skiing trip she and the Mister have planned for this Sunday. It's supposed to be very cold again, so she will need all the warm accessories I can get on her. We're also expecting another winter storm to move through Friday night and Saturday, so I am planning on spending most of Saturday holed up at home with my wool -- not entirely a bad way to spend a weekend, if you ask me!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Little Bits of Everything

Now that I am home and reunited with the full stash, it seems I am getting an urge to do all the crafts. First there was spinning over the weekend. Then I decided to play around with dyeing some yarn (really just playing -- I used food coloring) to use to make Rainbow a new cowl. This was a spare skein of Knit Picks Capra in a dark gray color that we tried to make purple:


I'd say these are less than stellar results, but Rainbow is satisfied, so I'll be winding this little skein up tonight and likely casting on the new cowl sometime this week.

Of course, there has been knitting. My first order of business when we got back (after adding twist to that skein of handspun) was finishing up these slipper socks. I actually completed the knitting on Sunday night but had to finish weaving in the ends last night and then blocked them overnight on the radiator.


I've already got the pattern draft written out (by hand), so I've got to type that up and get some photos this weekend so I can send it off to my tech editor to put in her queue.

I'm still working on Rainbow's Felici socks, with the leg of the second sock nearly finished.


And as if all this varied crafting hasn't been enough, I decided to pull out my crochet bag last night and plan to do some more work on this evening as well. I'd really like to get this project finished up in the next month, so it's time to buckle down and do it. By the time I finish the current scrap of yarn on this, I'll have more than 900 yards crocheted up, with a good amount of scrap yarn still available to be added. I'd like the bag to be rather deep, so I expect I will use most if not all of what I've set aside.


This project is doing double duty of using up some stash yarn (and old stash yarn, at that) and being a good alternative to knitting, as at the moment I have a sore spot on my left index finger that's making knitting a little painful because I tend to push the tip of the needle with that finger as I knit. I am still managing to work on the socks a bit by keeping a bandaid on the finger, but that makes knitting a bit awkward and slower than usual. When I crochet, that finger stays up in the air to hold the yarn, so there's no worry of aggravating the sore spot. I'd also like to develop my crochet skills a bit in the coming year, so working on this bag is helping to improve my muscle memory toward that end.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Back on Track

And we're back home. It was a bit of an adjustment to come home to sub-freezing temperatures, but the house is nice and toasty and there are plenty of woolens here to keep us warm.

After two weeks away from my spinning, I wasted no time getting reacquainted with my wheels. As soon as I was done unpacking and getting Rainbow to bed, I sat down at my miniSpinner to add more plying twist to my Fibernymph Dye Works Holiday Countdown skein. Really, the wheel did all the work; I just held the yarn while it added twist (one of the joys of an electric wheel). I skeined it up and soaked it again on Saturday morning, and thanks to some very warm radiators, it was dry by last night. It's much better now.


My final yardage is somewhere in the neighborhood of 605 yards, which isn't bad, especially given how much the skein shrank between finishing the first time around and adding more twist. My plan is still to knit this into another brioche infinity cowl, but I think I will likely knit it on small-ish needles so that the fabric is a bit denser and the finished object doesn't overwhelm me. I have a feeling I'll be casting on soon, just as soon as I finish a couple of things that are still in progress.

Now that we're back, I've returned to my Buoy sweater spin with the start of skein number 3. This will be a big skein -- 8 ounces of fiber -- to transition from the darkest color to the medium color. I've made just a small start thus far.


As I was splitting up fiber for this skein, I realized I made a bit of a mistake. When I bought three additional braids of fiber during my last visit to the HipStrings studio, I guess I didn't bother to look at the labels too closely. The medium color I had intended to buy was Bay, but apparently I picked up a braid of Depths, which is a very similar colorway.

Depths on the left, Bay on the right
I think that the colors are similar enough that I should be okay. Depths is slightly darker (the colors are overall the same except that Bay has the addition of the lighter blue), so it should work fine to combine it with Mussels. I'll just have to do some manual fading when I change from the transition skein to the all-Bay skein, which won't be a problem. I'll admit I did feel a bit silly when I realized my error -- but, honestly, is more Buoy really a problem? I think not.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Like All Good Things

As I type this, the sun in setting on our last day of our vacation. Tomorrow we head back to the frozen north (though the Florida weather has been unseasonably cool the last few days, which perhaps was Mother Nature's way of acclimating us), and Monday we'll all be back to the normal routine.

The past two weeks have gone by quickly, but they have been thoroughly enjoyable. I've gotten a lot of sleep and a fair amount of exercise, including getting back into running (though I'll likely take a hiatus when we get home until the weather gets warmer). I've finished two books. I've discovered that I can drink a glass of wine without ill effect. And I've done a lot of knitting.

You saw the two projects I finished in my last post, so this one is all about the WIPs. The first is a new pair of socks for Rainbow, which you saw last week. I started the first one when we headed to the movies on Christmas, and it sat for a while until after the last of my Gift-a-long projects was finished. The Mister and I went out for a date night earlier this week and went to see another movie, so naturally I picked the project back up again.


Rainbow requested another pair of Vanilla Is the New Black socks, so that's what she's getting. I am purposefully making them a bit on the larger side so that they will last longer (this girl's feet seem to grow every time I look), but the nice thing about this pattern is that aside from the heel, they are nothing but stockinette with a bit of ribbing at the cuff. They'll be coming on the plane with me tomorrow, so it's highly likely that the first sock will be done very soon.

The other project on the needles is a new design, a pair of ankle socks with a bit of colorwork for fun. I cast on the first sock on Tuesday and finished it yesterday -- I just love how fast sportweight sock knit up!


The yarn is Fibernymph Dye Works Traveler; the main color was actually the other option for the main color for the Xenolith kits with the rainbow mini skeins, and the blue is the leftover from the color I ended up using. It's a bit hard to see in the photo above (because it's not very easy to take a photo of your own foot), but there's a bit of short row shaping on the back of the ankle to create a little pull-on tab like you see on athletic socks. I'm very happy with how this turned out and had hoped to knit up the second sock today, but just as I got out of the shower after my run today, I got a migraine. It wasn't a bad one, fortunately, but it did mean that I ended up sleeping away part of the afternoon. I'll work on the second sock this evening and finish it up when we get home, and fortunately I already have a draft of the pattern written up.

While it would be nice to be on vacation indefinitely, especially during the winter, I will say that I am looking forward to being reunited with my stash and my wheels. I predict I will spend most of the coming weekend wrapped in a big sweater, drinking lots of tea, and spinning my heart out.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The Last, the First, and a Start

I was trying very hard to finish up two Gift-a-long projects by the end of 2017, but I only managed one. And I'm thrilled with it!


Pattern: Whippersnapper by Triona Murphy, size 3-6 months
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Pond Tonal and Dale Garn Baby Ull in an unnamed blue
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) and US 2 (2.75 mm)
Started/Completed: December 22/December 31

I knit this as a gift for my best friend, who just had her third son. They live in Colorado, so I made the smallest size both because it was would be fastest to knit and because the baby is likely to need a sweater right away. Even for a fingering-weight sweater, this knit up quickly, and it was an easy knit, too. I went with the two colors I used mainly because it was what I had enough of in my stash, though I completely love Triona's original idea of using a gradient set of mini skeins for the wide stripes and a solid for the thin stripes. I can see myself knitting this again one day for Rainbow (perhaps using thicker yarn to upsize it more). My only very minor complaint is that there were a lot of ends to weave in for such a small sweater, but I didn't think carrying the blue through the green sections was going to be a good idea.

I tried very hard to finish up the second project before midnight, but frankly I wasn't sure if I'd be able to stay awake that late and I probably wouldn't have finished anyway if I had, so instead I put the knitting away, went to bed, and finished up these socks yesterday, making them my first FO of 2018.


Pattern: Intrecciate Socks by yours truly (currently only available in Knit Now but coming to my Ravelry shop later this winter)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Pewter
Needles: US 0 (2.0 mm)
Started/Completed: December 21, 2017/January 1, 2018

I decided to knit these up because I knew I would want another sample of the pattern to photograph for republishing when I get the rights back, and I really wanted to knit them in the kind of yarn I'd originally envisioned for the yarn -- namely a semisolid yarn with multiple plies. The multicolored singles yarn I used for the original sample was fun, but I think the cables pop much better in this pair.

I'm feeling very virtuous for using up this yarn, as it had been marinating in my stash for likely a decade or longer. I received it in a swap back then, and it was old enough that Shepherd Sock still came in a 50 g put-up and you needed to buy two to make a pair of socks.

There are a couple of projects in progress back home, and I still have Rainbow's striped socks on the needles (which will see some action a little later this afternoon, as the Mister and I are headed to a movie), but I felt the urge to cast on a new design yesterday. Unfortunately it appears that I was not counting very carefully and was short two stitches, so I had to frog last night, but I cast on again this morning and all is going well.


This is yet another pair of socks, this time with a bit of colorwork for fun. I'm using Fibernymph Dye Works Traveler, Lisa's sportweight base, and I just love how quickly it knits up. Combined with the fact that these are shortie/ankle socks, I think it's fair to say that they are not going to linger on the needles for very long.