New for the New Year

OK. So. I have a complicated history with sewing. I grew up in a semi-sewing family and I had a sewing machine of my own from when I was teen-ish, but I never really caught the bug. I tried some quilting in my teens and then about a decade later I made a curtain to separate my laundry area from the kitchen that involved 4 straight seams in a single piece of fabric that was cut to exactly the size I needed it to be plus seam allowance — and I took a 6-month break halfway through because I couldn’t fucking stand the hassle and swore LOUDLY the rest of the time. (Two homes later and we still use that curtain and the seams haven’t given out, though. I will accept your praise for this.) I thought about clothes sewing here and there, but I never found the motivation to learn. My only frame of reference for homemade clothing, besides Halloween costumes, was the blousy house dresses my grandmother made over and over from the same pattern in thin quilting cotton and the elastic-waisted ankle-length circle skirts my mother made me for Xtian school that I think might have been made out of upholstery fabric — functional as garments but not something I ever wanted to replicate for myself. Eventually I just decided that the only thing I liked about sewing was the smell of ironing, found loving homes for all my fabric, and ebayed my sewing machine.

So I can’t really explain what is happening or why, but lately I’ve been…feeling an urge. I’m between semesters and I’ve been spending the brain space that has freed up marathoning all the knitting podcasts I’m behind on. Somewhere along this catching-up journey I saw Libby of Truly Myrtle talking about making a shirt, and then I realized it was the shirt she was wearing, and THEN I realized that there was nothing I wanted more in this world than to sew a shirt that fit me and looked like what I think of as a shirt. And that was that. I have determined it is time for me to sew.

It’s getting bad fast. I’ve lost  at least a day to youtube tutorials for things I can’t yet reproduce. I made a Fold Line account and started wishlisting patterns and downloaded a bunch of sewing podcasts and I started sketching out a Make 9 grid and…and…and…it’s getting beyond reasonable.

One of the big hindrances for me when I’ve tried to sew in the past has been not having either all the proper supplies or the space I needed (see above photo of our darling Zoe all up in my business) to really get anything done. I would spend so much time and frustration on getting set up or trying to find everything I needed that I couldn’t really feel like I was accomplishing anything. And since my whole budget right now for getting started is going to be my tax return (should I be entitled to one this year and, if so, if it actually shows up, of course) and I don’t know that I will have regular cash for a sewing budget, the plan is to buy a machine, set up a dedicated sewing space, and get a little stash of patterns/fabric/whatnots established so the sewing and I can get to know each other.

But I need some help. If I were going back in time to tell about-to-learn-to-knit or about-to-learn-to-cook Aoife what she should just buy right off the bat to be good to for whatever (beginner-appropriate) stuff she wanted to experiment with, I’d have no trouble. But about-to-learn-to-sew Aoife is likely to do a lot of wandering in circles moaning WHAAAAAATTTTTTTT if she’s not given some guidance. Tell me your secrets, sewists. What’s your sewing area setup like? What’s your dream sewing area setup like? Speak to me of machines and needles and tools and notions. Send me to your favorite online places to buy…the things. Answer any of the obvious questions I maybe should be asking but I don’t know that they’re obvious and that’s why I need help.

And then watch this space, I guess. Maybe there will be a shirt here one day.

2018 Recap

Hello, lovelies. How’s your year been?

In January, I mostly just cooked.


(More about that over here.)

In February, the truck broke down and it took a month to get the transmission rebuilt. I’m super lucky to live right on a bus route that gets me to work on time, but it adds an hour to my day each way, so I mostly just went to work, came home, ate dinner, slept, went to work, etc., and there was not a lot of time or brain space for knitting or cooking or pretty much anything.

Which pretty much takes care of March, too, although I did manage a hat and a pair of flip-top mittens to make my commute/walk a little toastier.

(Socks That Rock Mediumweight in Fuschia Rose & Deep Unrelenting Gray, yarn held double for the hat, patterns just sorta made up as I went.)

In April, I rediscovered the worsted weight scrappy striped blanket I told you about way back in 2016.

(Pay no attention to its 10-stitch companion. I thought that would be fun but it wasn’t.)

At the time, I said I thought it would be a 24″x36″-ish lap blanket. Something about the garter stitch and the stripes were just exactly what my brain needed when I picked this back up, though, and by May, when it was lap blanket sized, I didn’t want to stop.

June was mostly yardwork, but also I made this cake.

(Smitten Kitchen’s “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake)

In July, we said goodbye to Zoe.

In August, we said hello to Alistair.

In September, I celebrated my birthday a smidge late with a trip to StevenBe and this pompom has made my life better, I can tell you that.

In October, I Rhinebecked. 

(!!!!!!!)

Remind me to tell you the whole story some time. It’s called Four Hats and No License, or Why I Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Pack My Own Bag.

November was for playing with my Rhinebeck haul.

(Peace Fleece Worsted that wants to be a Cathedral Grove cardigan when it grows up.)

And December was all about shiny new things.

(tosh merino light in Mint Condition, which was the full skein in the 2018 modern Christmas advent calendar from eat.sleep.knit. I have squooshed it on my nose several times and it’s real good.)


As Far As Things I Actually Finished Go

Yarn/Pattern Info (L-R, top to bottom)

Aforementioned mittens & hat; previously discussed worsted weight scrap blanket (which, of course, outgrew my scraps, necessitating the buying of more yarn and eventually weighing in at 6 lbs); Tosh Sock in Electric Rainbow/my usual cuff-down plain sock

Regia Pairfect Design Line By Arne & Carlos in 9135 Fall Night/exactly as the ball band calls for with 64 sts on 2 mm needles; DiC Smooshy in Damp Pillow/my usual cuff-down again; red mystery fingering weight wool/Spruce Point Pullover aka my Rhinebeck sweater that has yet to be properly photographed; bunch of yarn ends/fill some glass Christmas ornaments

Misc sock scraps/the last 2 of my scrappy socks that I found needing only toes and finished up while I was in bed sick one weekend – Lorna’s Laces Solemate in an Avengers colorway I think was called Assembl/a waffley rib textured hat for Dan – and madelinetosh BFL Sock in Well Water & Whiskey Barrel/improvised triangle shawl; STR Mediumweight in Deep Unrelenting Gray/improvised ribbed hat with special fancy birthday pompom; Cascade Eco held with DiC Smooshy in Milky Spite/Lamb Shoes but w/no face embroidery; Miss Babs & Tosh Sock & Frabjous Fibers/On the Spice Market all as detailed here

In the Deep Hue Sea Carribean colorway Salazar/my usual cuff-downs with a slightly longer cuff to work better with my new Docs; Cascade Eco + in a purple heather and Cascade 220 color 2215/There and Back Again (TABA) by Shanel Wu, which is a really fun sock knit flat that I got to test knit; Patons Kroy & KPPPM & something I can’t remember/Jewel, which I knit in April 2017 but only just found a loving home for and finally found the will to weave in the ends and block properly; oh and I made a quilted coaster which has nothing to do with knitting but it’s almost an actual square and I am very proud so please look at it thanks


And wow yeah so that was a year.

Let’s go do another one.

In conclusion:

Just Off the Spice Market

Oh hey.

How’ve you been?

I made a thing.

Want to see?

Pattern: On the Spice Market by Melanie Berg
Yarn: Miss Babs Yummy 2-Ply Toes gradient kit in Tidal Pool, 177 grams, leaving a range of leftovers from 1 g of orange to 14 g of the darkest blue. madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Calligraphy, just about every last drop of it. Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat in Pigments of Imagination, 6 teensy wee grams.
Needles:
 3.25 mm/US 3 Karbonz 40″ circular
Size & Gauge: Finished measurements about 100″ wide and 22″ deep after a good soak and hanging to dry. Gauge is 11 st and 22 r to 2″, which is tighter than the pattern calls for and I even went up a needle size. I did not give it a proper blocking, though, because cats and floor space. I do want to try to give it a slightly more aggressive blocking because the fabric is a bit dense and the depth makes it a little too shallow to wear over my shoulders so this really only works wrapped around my neck scarf-style right now. I feel like I make it a little drapier at least.
Started:
10/23/18
Finished:
11/25/18
Mods: Unintentional and several.

  • The gauge and size, as mentioned.
  • I really wanted to jump right in with this yarn, so my reasonableness kind of went out the window. I thought about pairing it with a peachy-pink skein of Frabjous Fibers Chesire Cat but went with Tosh Sock in Calligraphy instead for a lighter background to show off the Miss Babs better. Which meant I ran out of my main color, which the yardage in the pattern told me I would, so there is no one there to blame but me. I brought the Chesire Cat in for the last section so it manages to look a bit intentional and I do really love that color paired with every single one of the minis.
  • When I started the last stripe section, I read the instructions for color 1 and the main color, then I decided to finally watch Room and did not even think about looking back at the pattern for the next 2 hours. Consequently, I missed that you’re supposed to work each stripe a little narrower with each color, rather than the full 4 pattern repeats as with color 1, and I didn’t realize until there was almost none of color 3 left and it seemed like something might be up. So, I did 3 repeats, 2 repeats, 1 with the rest.
  • At that point I was so far off I figured why not and I added one more main color repeat and then bound off in color 6.

In Conclusion: It’s pretty so who cares if I’m bad at paying attention.

Much Better

Well. Let me tell you, friends. As much as I was hoping to be wearing a new sweater right around this time, I can’t say I’m even a little sorry that it worked out the way it did.

(This is my not sorry face.)

I think I would have loved this pattern anyway, but especially coming after an attempt at something far trickier (and in my mind quite unnecessarily so), this was exactly what I needed. You start with a few stitches and increase to a bunch, which is one of my favorite ideas in the world. The stripes show up just when you need a change and then you’re quickly back to long stretches of main-color TV knitting. It’s mostly a simple 6-row repeat with a few short-row sections and then a lace border. I’m someone who prefers a chart for lace, and this is written, but the edging pattern was only a 10-stitch repeat and it was easy to remember each row after the first few repeats.

 

When I started knitting, I wanted to make all the sweaters. But socks and I found each other pretty quickly and they have been my default knitting for a long time. The last few years, though, I’ve shifted towards shawls. They check off a lot of the same boxes as socks — pretty yarn! easy to make your own without a pattern once you’ve learned a few of the standard techniques! lots of opportunity to just knit knit knit without having to think too much! — but they also satisfy my “I want to wear the same thing every day” and “being wrapped in a blanket makes me feel safe, can I be wrapped in a blanket all the time please” needs simultaneously and in a way that doesn’t get me weird looks at the office.

This shawl? Well, it is for sure getting worn every day for the foreseeable future, and based on my crude attempt at blocking I can tell you it also checks the blanket box. This thing is just about as wide as and a good bit longer than a queen-size mattress, folks.

(I am quite a bit smaller than a queen-size mattress, FYI.)

Not that garter stitch really requires blocking, of course, so in the end, I decided to pin out the lace and let the garter stitch find its own way.

Oh, but first — I really wanted to capture the eggcrate kind of texture the lace had before blocking.

Buddy had different ideas about what my artistic focus should be. But I mostly just go with what Buddy wants these days, not gonna lie.

With its sort-of long, skinny vibe, this shawl did not give a very good idea of quite how big it was during the knitting. Once I had it al pinned out, Dan commented on its superhero-y- ness. With the right brooch, I think I totally could fight crime in this.

I have at least fought the disappointment and frustration of trying to knit that damn sweater.

Pattern: San Drea Shawl by Emma Welford
Yarn: madelintosh Tosh Merino Light (all amounts assuming my skeins were 100 g, which I don’t know really because I didn’t weigh first) in Candlewick (MC, 276 g), Violet Beauregard (CC 1, 14 g), Yoko (CC 2, 13 g), and Tern (CC 3, I’m guessing either 14 or 13 g but I couldn’t get an accurate weight of what was left because some of it is still in that fucking sweater in a Ziploc in a box) 
Needles:
 3.75 mm/US 5 KnitPicks interchangeable tips (I have a very few remaining) on a Knitter’s Pride cable, to which each ended up superglued at some point during the course of this because they wouldn’t stay screwed in and I know they maybe aren’t entirely 100% compatible between brands like that but come on let’s be reasonable and UGH I wish those needles weren’t such crap because other than that they are so beautiful and I adore them
Started:
10/11/17
Finished:
11/11/17

 

In conclusion:

Go With Your Instincts

I was talking to a friend last night about how knitting is the one area of my life where I’m quite decisive and don’t worry about consequences.  I will cast on, rip out, cut the yarn, quit when it’s too hard or I’m bored, start something entirely new because it’s pretty and I’m sad or whatever, and overall not really even care. I go entirely on my instinct for what I want to be doing at the moment.

So anyway I had a little yarn money to burn last month, about the same time I had an urge to knit Wrought Iron. Eat Sleep Knit was the only store with the Tosh Merino Light colors I wanted (Candlewick and Tern) in stock, and while I was there I decided I certainly also needed a skein of Violet Beauregard and Yoko. I had a vague notion of a shawl with those two as the main colors and any leftovers from the sweater making nice little accents.

 

I was well into another sweater when this arrived, but I still had the yarn wound and Wrought Iron cast on by dinner.

(cast on)

I wanted to alternate skeins of Candlewick just to be safe, so for a while knitting the front of this sweater involved wrangling 5 balls of yarn — 2 of Candlewick to alternate for each side of the front and 1 of Tern for the center panel.

 

It was a huge pain but I wanted this sweater to be as pretty as possible.

Now, another thing about the way I approach knitting is that if a pattern has tricky things in it I need to just go line by line and trust the text. I have a hard time seeing how a thing will knit up if I’m just reading the instructions. I could tell that Wrought Iron had an unusual construction so I just focused in on each step of the instructions and tried not to get ahead of myself.

Which is how I ended up with 6 extra cm of sweater front involving 5 balls of yarn, lace and intarsia before I realized I should have stopped knitting 6 cm ago.

(rip out)

It took me 4 hours to rip that back to where it should have been.

It took the rest of the afternoon to get the provisional cast-ons picked out, the shoulder stitches picked up properly, and the back neck cast on.

It took me a couple more hours to completely fuck up the short-row shaping, rip back to the provisional cast-ons, and redo the short-row shaping properly.

I spent the next morning happily (I mean, not so happily, really, I was already getting pretty fed up with this nonsense) knitting the back to the same (that is, 6 cm shorter than I thought) length as the front, and then FINALLY it was time to join everything up. I was feeling a lot less love for this sweater at this point, but I was ready to put that behind me and get to the pretty part.

Which is when I realized that when I ripped out the back and started it over, I had cast on the center back stitches between the outside edges of the shoulders. So, I had a Möbius yoke, basically, and also I had now had quite enough, thank you.

(cut the yarn, quit when it’s too hard)

And that’s the story of how I’m knitting the 4-color San Drea Shawl in Candlewick, Tern, Violet Beauregard, and Yoko.

(start something entirely new because it’s pretty and I’m sad or whatever)

 

The end.

No End In Sight

I believe I have previously documented my dislike of weaving in ends on this here blog. If I haven’t, let me be clear now: I dislike it. I have yet to find an approach that makes me feel better about the whole thing. (Not approach as in the actual way I weave them in — I have lots of those that I like just fine — but approach as in a way of making weaving in ends feel like a part of my knitting routine and not just this horrid chore that keeps me from being able to WEAR THE THING NOW, DAMNIT.) In socks it’s not so bad because you don’t really have to do a great job to get the ends secure enough that they’ll stay put. In a lace shawl it’s just the worst. In a multi-yarn project, it’s like a whole different realm.

Except. Well. I found a work-around. It’s a very specific work-around and isn’t something you can employ in too many projects. Pretty much just this one project, actually. But let me tell you: I worked on something (on and mostly off) for almost 2.5 years, I used 243 grams of fingering weight SCRAPS (I honestly don’t even know how many separate yarns are represented), I covered somewhere north of 800 square inches of this world with yarn, and, people? I wove in ZERO ends.

It started like this.

 

It progressed to this.

 

 

Like many things, it got set aside for a year or two and then was a mystery I could not solve when I finally picked it back up again. I knew I had been using linen stitch, I knew linen stitch was basically k1/sl1 wyif, etc., but I also knew looking at this when I finally picked it back up that I had not really been paying any kind of attention when I was knitting this. There were entire rows that were just stockinette, and I had started off with the yarn-in-fronts staggered, and then at some point forgotten to alternate so they were in vertical columns instead, and…it was a mess. I could also tell that, since I was just using up all my ends that were too small for the mitered square blanket, whether they were a few inches or a few feet long, I was going to end up occasionally with longer stretches of solid colors, like that yellow you see on the needles in the second picture. I did not want that. I wanted this scarf to be a complete mess of single stitches of different colors playing off each other and never entirely clumping up by themselves. I was going for a “somebody spilled a lot of marbles in here” kind of look.

So I started again and got this.

 

“Somebody spilled a lot of marbles in here, and then they rolled themselves into pleasingly dappled stripes.”

 

And it was much better, so I kept going.

 

 

 

And going.

 

 

 

And it kept being everything I wanted.

 

Until I just didn’t want to anymore.

 

This was a length check I did when I was getting tired of knitting and wanted to see how close the bottom edge (minus fringe) was to hip length when the scarf was wrapped twice. It was not very close. This picture helped me adjust my expectations of how long the scarf would be, is what I’m saying.

 

So, I stopped.

 

And it was good.

 

Pattern: See below. Inspired by & a mishmash of a few different things.

Yarn: Fingering weight scraps/leftovers, equivalent to about 2.5 skeins’ worth of sock yarn (final weight is 243 g, of which I think a little over 20 is fringe), tied together using this technique and wound into 2 separate center-pull balls (center-pull so I could keep adding more yarn as I came across it without having to start all new balls).

A note about knots: Normally I avoid knots in my yarn because they always want to show on the right side and in something that will be very close to my skin they’re likely to just be a constant irritation. The irritation factor was minimal with this project, but the potential for never weaving in the ends was high, so I went with knots. They do show on the right side, but only really if you’re looking for them, and they’re easy enough to pull to the back with a crochet hook. We’ll see how well they stay tied after this gets a whole winter’s worth of wear (it was in the 90s the day I finished, so the 5 minutes of wearing it got for the photos is really all the wearing it has had so far), but as long as the whole thing doesn’t unravel I am more than content with the knots.

Needles: US 7/4.5 mm bamboo circular

Gauge: Roughly 7.5 stitches and 10 rows in linen stitch unblocked

A note about needles & gauge: With linen stitch, you want to use a much bigger needle than you normally would for the weight of yarn you’re using. I am kind of a loose knitter and I normally knit socks at about 8 sts/in on US 0/2 mm needles. With a US 7/4.5 mm I get very nearly the same gauge in fingering weight with linen stitch. Also this is the biggest thing I’ve ever done with linen stitch and I’m really surprised at how much horizontal stretch it has. I kind of can’t stop picturing it as a sock cuff.

Started: 2/23/15

Finished: 6/30/17

If you want one of your own:

-CO an even number of stitches (I used 60 sts for a width of about 8″) long-tail using one strand from each ball of yarn and leaving ends at least as long as you want the fringe (they will be worked into the fringe later — NO ENDS TO WEAVE IN!).

-Establish linen stitch pattern:

(Always slip as if to purl.)

Row 1: *p1, sl1 wyib* — repeat to end
Row 2: *k1, sl1 wyif* — repeat to end

-Alternating balls every other row, work in linen stitch to desired length (mine ended up about 92″ without fringe). End after Row 1.

-Work a  knitted bind-off on the knit side.

-Add fringe:

Cut lengths of yarn at least at least twice as long as you want the fringe (I measured against my arm, because it was the closest thing I had, which gave me lengths about 23” and then trimmed to 8″).

Hold 3 together and fold in half, lining up the ends of the shortest piece.

 

 

Insert a crochet hook from purl side to knit side & pull the 3 strands through by their middle, then pull the ends through this loop (basically a chain stitch, but pulling the ends all the way through).

 

 

-Add fringe in every other stitch at both ends. (I did a full 3-piece bit in the cast-on and bind-off stitches and found that the extra 2 strands didn’t affect the bulk noticeably.)

 

-Trim with a rotary cutter.

 

Here’s a trick I wish I could use for my bangs, let me tell you.

 

-Revel in the lack of ends to weave.

 

-Enjoy your scarf. Even if it’s 90 degrees out.

 

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At The End Of The Yay

So I’m only like 3 weeks late for an anniversary wrap-up on my Independence Yay project. It’s fine.

1  Life-long Blanket: I made it to my goal of squaring it off & filling in all side triangles! And I’ve gone a bit past that. Still not a complete blanket, but the goal was reached, so this one gets checked off.

2 Secret Project #1/’15-’16:17 #8: Done & previously discussed.

3 Shawl: Done & previously discussed.

4 Francis Revisited Revised: Still nope.

5 Conference Call Socks: These are still in my bag of “do something with these” socks, but I did just dump this bag to do…something else…with yesterday. More at the end.

6 Secret Project # 2: Still on hold.

7 Possible Mittens: Previously given up on.

8 Scrappy Scarf: DONE AND FANTASTIC AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH IT’S GOING TO GET ITS OWN POST (but here’s a glimpse in case you just can’t stand it)

9 Ugly Knee Socks: Previously given up on.

10 Secret Project #3: Nothing to see here.

11 Muriwai the Third: Nope. This is one of those things I know I’ll pick up some weekend and finish over the course of a TV marathon, but I just haven’t been feeling it.

12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket: I don’t even remember the last time I knit anything in worsted that would give me scraps. I think I’ll just pretend like this one doesn’t exist.

13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks/’15-’16:17 # 10 & 11: Done & previously lamented.

15 Kiemurakukkaset: These just need thumbs. “Watch this take the longest of everything on the list” I said over a year ago. Guess how much I’ve gotten done?

16 Nether Garments: Well, they’re Nether Legwarmers now, but.

17 Stripey Sweater: No more progress since last time. I don’t have quite enough of one color of the Noro to make a full stripe repeat on the body and also I haven’t figured out what to do with the sleeves. Also it’s like 90 here lately.

18 Former Sweater, Future Pillow: Another one for the “someday I’ll get the urge and just tear thru this, but it is not this day” pile.

19 Gray & Yellow Shawl: I abandoned my original plan for this when I came upon an old ball of KPPPM that had both the exact yellow and the exact gray in it. That all became Jewel and I lurve it.

 

20 Myrtle: Still mostly holding off on sweaters.

21 Gray & Teal Scarf: Previously abandoned.

22 Problem Socks: Still problems.

23 Mending: Done & previously discussed.

24 & 25 Mystery Projects 4 & 5: Yeah, we’ll get around to these eventually.

26 ’15-16:17 #9: Done & previously discussed.

27 Wild Card: I have been so into my need to knit up all my scraps and not have this mess of yarn everywhere that I still haven’t felt tempted.

 

OK, so that’s 12 out of an original 27 done or moved to the next stage or officially given up on, which isn’t bad. Averaging one item cleared out of the backlog per month is decent enough. Looking over the list again today, I think I’m comfortable calling the rest of the list happily hibernating. I do have some fun new things in progress, so I think I’m ready to move on from my year of old unfinished things.

And in the interest of moving on into the future:

 

View this post on Instagram

Super fucking fiddly and 1000% worth it.

A post shared by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

No pattern, but I’m trying to keep somewhat intelligible notes on my Ravelry project page if you’re interested.

Here is yet still another sock yarn leftovers project (I have A LOT of sock yarn leftovers, you guys) but also with a bit of a twist: unlike my mitered square blanket, I’m not setting rules for this one aside from alternating the solid white & black squares in the center. I don’t want this to languish forever but also it’s going to be pretty small and I don’t want the same yarns over and over again, so I’ve been buying new yarn for it or breaking into skeins I haven’t used for socks yet. And remember how I said I dumped out my bag of problem socks? Since most of those are due to be converted into two-at-a-time toe-up ankle socks, I figured I was safe to call them into service for this project as well. I don’t want to say anything too loud in case it hears me, but I feel like I might be back with a finished blanket project very soon.

It’s Kind of Like Cleaning

I can’t stand to throw things away if I know they could be useful someday. And I’m really good at ignoring piles of things as they build up just at the edge of my peripheral vision. And then every so often I realize that the thought of not doing the useful thing and also the giant pile of stuff I’m doing nothing with has become such a backlog of frustration that I must do something about it NOW. One option is just to actually clean the pile of things, put it all away tidily, maybe even find new homes for the useful things I’m just not using. Another option is to leave the pile where it is but spend 2 months knitting from it and saying that this is my way of cleaning the living room, even though for those 2 months the living room doesn’t actually get any cleaner as far as anyone can tell.

 

Anyway, my point is when this feeling also comes at the beginning of a semester, a time when I am historically quite unable to can in any sort of manner and desperately casting about for simple knitting that’s still pretty enough to be a distraction, glorious things can happen.

 

IMG_0130

 

And then happen again.

 

IMG_0135

 

And then keep happening.

 

IMG_0136

 

Like, over and over.

 

IMG_0138

 

Again.

 

IMG_0164

 

 

And again.

 

IMG_3875

 

Until I’m like, “Whoa, OK, missy, that’s an awful lot of socks to be considered just one pair. Or…4 pairs. Or maybe it’s 28? Hard to say, really, but we’re ready to stop now.”

 

IMG_0170

Pattern: All top down, 60 or 64 stitches depending on my mood, heel flap & gusset, varying cuff & leg lengths. The only really consistent thing I did was make sure to leave enough when I finished one toe to cast on the next cuff with the same yarn. This made a few socks a smidge short and also in some cases there was just enough yarn to be like one side of a long-tail cast-on, but I made it work.
Yarn:
all of them, basically
Needles:
2 mm/US 0 Karbonz circular
Started:
1/26/17
Finished:
3/26/17

 

Yet still the yarn bits remained. Then I remembered the scrappy linen stitch scarf I started a couple years ago to deal with the leftover leftovers that were leftover after I’d used my leftovers in the blanket.

 

17504670_1627316213945283_8561514447059914007_o

 

It had been sitting on a broken KnitPicks circular and I had to look up my Ravelry project page to figure out what size needle I had used, and then I had to take a good long look at it to figure out how exactly I thought I had been interpreting linen stitch (turns out it was at least 2 conflicting ways, I think), and basically after a few rows of trying to get back into it the gauge was way off and the stitch pattern was not working, so I just plain started over.

 

IMG_0173

 

This time I made 2 balls of ends and I’m alternating every other row, which is working with the linen stitch quite nicely to mix up all these colors and not let anything dominate.

 

It’s going so quickly.

 

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It’s fantastic.

Then I remembered the Nether Garments I started and put away a while back. I had gotten them to mid-thigh and was finding the circumference I had reached to be a bit of an endurance test at this gauge, so I set them aside for a while. But this morning I realized that if I keep going at this scarf at this pace I’ll use up everything and then just always have these half-finished leggings taking up an entire Karbonz circ that could be better used in other, actual knitting.

And then I thought about how nice it would be to just call them legwarmers and be done.

 

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Pattern: ostensibly Nether Garments by Elizabeth Zimmermann; more details on my project page
Yarn:
yes, that’s what I used
Needles:
2 mm/US 0 Karbonz circular, 2-at-a-time Magic Loop
Started:
5/8/16
Finished:
4/2/17

 

Of course, unraveling the last few inches of these just made more yarn mess that I will now have to “clean” my way through, but I mean come on, did anyone really think anything I ever did was actually going to lead to less of a yarn pile in the living room?

In the Interest of Full Stitch Fix Disclosure

Good morning! I have homework due today, so let’s talk about clothes, yes?

 

Oh wait no, first let’s talk about home improvements.  When last we spoke about Stitch Fix (that’s my referral code, and it gets me $25 credit if you sign up through it, FYI), I was planning to skip a month or two so we could get what is going to be our bedroom fixed up, and I was lamenting the amount of sanding we would have to do to get the dark blue paint cleared away to make room for something significantly lighter.

And then we discovered this:

 

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Yeah, so, basically the walls here were painted in thick layers of goopy horror that still like however many years later doesn’t actually feel dry, and it turns out we can just peel the paint off of them in giant sheets. Imagine somebody stuck a bunch of fruit roll-ups on your wall. It’s like that. We had half the room cleared in one MST3K.

But then life and indecisiveness and school got in the way and the weather got cool and dry, which it turns out greatly affects the peeliness of our paint, and now it’s 6 months later and the room is still a half-blue pile of we’ll-get-to-that-someday.

Anyway, I went back to getting Stitch Fix boxes but the picture quality got even worse but I still want my stylist to have some idea of how things are fitting me and also I do like telling the world about how great I think this service is, is my point. So, let’s get to it.

 

September — I BOUGHT THE WHOLE FUCKING BOX!

 

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I lost my list but I want to say this top is a Crescent somethingorother Mixed Material something in XL? My stylist, Jenny, noted that she sent this in a larger size because it tended to run small across the bust. Honestly, I think I could have gone down a size and been fine, because it’s very loose and the armholes are big enough that I wouldn’t wear this without something on top, but I kept this size because I wasn’t sure how much smaller the next size down would be and also because with a cardigan over I don’t really think it looks too big at all.

 

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The pants are Margaret M gray bootcuts and I lurve them. They’re very nice to my butt.

 

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This is pretty much exactly how I like my pants to fit. Not too high-waisted and too long to walk around in barefoot.

And the stripey top is pretty great too.

 

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I really wish I knew where this receipt went, because this shirt is hanging up downstairs to dry and I’m not going down there to get the details right now. It’s a dolman sleeve, which I think is my new favorite, and it’s long enough not to ride up but not so long it looks odd.

These jeans are pretty great too, except they’re not. They’re Liverpool 4-way stretch…somethings, and they are the best-fitting pair of jeans I’ve ever worn in my life. They also smell terrible, which I didn’t notice until after I’d paid $98 (before all the discounts & such) for them. The night I got this box I did a quick try-on and planned to do a more thorough test run later in the week, but everything was so perfect immediately I just decided to go ahead and buy the whole box. So, my 2 minutes with these jeans were fine, but when I wore them to work a few days later, I realized — partway through my hour commute and too late to turn back and change — that they smelled like moth balls and a new shower curtain and too much oregano. 4 or 5 washes later that hadn’t changed and I hadn’t been able to wear them again, so I got in touch with customer service. They said it wasn’t normal but they didn’t have a replacement and gave me a refund. So, I’m sad about these jeans, but still overall very happy with the service.

Finally, there was this other shirt that I wore on Friday so it’s also drying downstairs and I’m not going down to look and get the details. I have this fashion blogger thing like 100% down at this point is what I’m saying.

 

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So soft! So comfy! Such cowl neck! PERFECT SHIRT

 

Anyways, this box made me so happy (and Buddy enjoyed the photoshoot as well). I like to try to keep detailed notes here but it’s been forever, so I wanna say I paid about $300 for all of this after the 25% buy-it-all discount, I think I had a $25 referral credit, and then plus sales tax.

 

October: We peeled a little more paint, I got a winter coat.

 

Andrew Marc Risor Quilted Puffer Coat:

 

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In October, I asked for a good winter coat, something that could stand up to a midwest winter but still let me move my arms enough to drive in it. This coat is PERFECT. That’s really all I have to say about it.

 

The other stuff in this fix was not so great, though, even though it was pretty in line with what I asked for. Besides saying I needed a coat, I sent this picture along so I could maybe get some stuff that would go with my next few shawls I planned to knit.

 

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Everything was in line with this request, but just not quite me.

 

Papermoon Kanyi Pullover Sweater & Liverpool Reagan Skinny Pant:

 

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These don’t look so bad and they were super comfy. I very nearly bought the sweater.

 

Market & Spruce Poppi Textured Pullover:

 

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Also not so bad. But overall these 3 were just a bit too much like what I used to wear in high school when I kind of hated my body and didn’t know how to deal with that when it came to clothes and so everything was just stretch pants and baggy cotton sweaters for a few years.

 

I also said I needed a purse in my note for this fix. Again, Jenny sent something very close to what I asked for — big, lots of pockets or compartments — but it was just a little off.

 

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Too many zippers & tassels.

In the end, I just bought the coat. It was $168, so minus the $20 styling fee and plus the sales tax I paid $154.76. I’m still beyond thrilled with it except that it’s dry-clean only and I’ve spilled a bunch of stuff on it. That’s really not the coat’s fault, though.

 

January: HOLY SHIT I BOUGHT IT ALL AGAIN WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING

 

Eadin Pencil Skirt, $48.00 (medium?) — Queensland Dolman Jersey Top, $48.00 (large?)

 

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I think Jenny heard me when I said something like “OH GOD DOLMAN SLEEVES I LOOOOOOOVE THEM.” This shirt is just perfect. It feels like pajamas but looks like work clothes.

I was really surprised I loved this skirt! Back in my first fix I got a pencil skirt that just didn’t quite work. I haven’t gotten a skirt since, but Jenny’s note said that she thought this one was cut to fit a little better. You guys, let me just say. This service is so personalized. I really hate shopping for clothes, so just having someone pick stuff out for me is enough. But I feel like my stylist actually does look over my previous purchases and comments and my Pinterest board and make decisions that make sense. Even when it’s something I don’t think I’ll like, more often than not once I try it on I love it. Man, it’s just the best.

 

Millie Textured Knit Dress, $68.00 (large?) — Everdeen Suede Wedge Pump, size 7, $110.00

 

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So. This dress. This dress marks a turning point for me. I tried it on, it was adorable, but I didn’t really see it being a work outfit and that is primarily what I’m doing Stitch Fix for. We rarely go out and I spend 98% of my home time in jammies. But then I remembered the styling cards. Like, this is what they’re there for, right? But I never use them. One of the options for this dress had it paired with a scarf and a gray cardigan, so the next night I hit up a couple stores and found decent approximations, and suddenly this was a perfectly biz caz option. Which is great because this is beyond comfortable and also the cut avoids all potential “when are you due” questions I might run into.

OK, but the shoes.

 

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It’s tough to see detail in these photos, I know, but this dress is navy with an emerald textured pattern over it. These shoes are PERFECT for that. (I’ve been wearing it with black tights & boots for now, but it’s like 4 degrees here, so.) The day this box came I had worn the green sleeveless top. I tried the shoes on first and was wandering around the house saying “OK these are really comfortable and they go with the dress, but I guess I’ll have to see what the dress fits like and I don’t know if I really need these” and generally trying to talk myself out of them, and my husband looked over and said “they match that shirt perfectly too, and you wear that all the time.” So this is the other thing I love about Stitch Fix: when I signed up I said I needed to build up a work wardrobe from scratch, and I’m finding with every box I get something that goes perfectly with something from a previous box. I am almost to the point where I don’t wear anything BUT my Stitch Fix stuff, and it’s easier to shop when I do feel the need to go out and pick something out at a store, because I know that everything I have at home already goes together.

 

Lizzy Colorblock Striped Sweater, $68.00 (large?)

 

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YOU GUYS I PINNED THIS AND THEN IT SHOWED UP IN THE MAIL STITCH FIX IS MAGIC

So, this all came to $342. After the 25% off for buying everything, $20 styling fee credit, and sales tax, I paid $254.46.

 

In conclusion: Stitch Fix is the best, blogging 3 boxes at once is a little overwhelming, I don’t have to worry about what to wear to work this week and it’s the most exciting. Good night.