(Previous yarn feelings here.)
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.
And it was much better, so I kept going.
And it kept being everything I wanted.
Until I just didn’t want to anymore.
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.
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.
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.
-Revel in the lack of ends to weave.
-Enjoy your scarf. Even if it’s 90 degrees out.
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:
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.
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.
And then happen again.
And then keep happening.
Like, over and over.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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:
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!
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.
The pants are Margaret M gray bootcuts and I lurve them. They’re very nice to my butt.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Everything was in line with this request, but just not quite me.
Papermoon Kanyi Pullover Sweater & Liverpool Reagan Skinny Pant:
These don’t look so bad and they were super comfy. I very nearly bought the sweater.
Market & Spruce Poppi Textured Pullover:
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.
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?)
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
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.
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?)
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.
My friends. Here we are. It was certainly a year. I had a lot of good personal stuff but man there was just so much horrible public stuff that I can’t say it averaged out anywhere close to a good year. I hope your 2016 was as un-horrible as it could have been and that your 2017 sees you remaining generally safe and intact. That’s all I’ve got at this point in history, but let’s check back later and see how we’re doing.
On New Year’s I slept through midnight so as not to have my 3rd new year migraine in a row (sleep schedule is a huge migraine factor for me). The plan was a success, so so far 2017 isn’t seeming too bad. Fingers crossed.
Anyway, let’s have a look back, shall we?
I counted up my Ravelry projects and it said I finished 16 things in 2016. That seemed really low, considering I feel like I knit constantly, and then I remembered I also made a bunch of hats for the Etsy shop, got my first full-time job in years (with an hour commute), and took 2 classes in Spring and 3 in Fall. So I probably did kind of alright, actually.
I made it to 11/17 pairs for my ’15-’16:17 plan. One pair was finished in 2015 when I actually started the project, and one that I finished in 2016 was actually just to fix a problem with an old pair. So, that still evens out to 11. Call it 11.5 if we include Only Child of the Regiment, 10.5 if we only include ones I remembered to photograph. Either way, I think this might actually be my best year of socks yet?
Aside from my blanket-turned-pillow, everything else I finished last year was a shawl. I think I have officially become a Shawl Person.
Anyway. Let’s talk about the future.
My primary knitting goal for 2017 is not to set any knitting goals for the first 6 months. This was the first year in a long time I’ve actually had some money to buy knitting supplies regularly, and it was really strange trying to get back into the habit. (I have a pretty great local place though, which helps A LOT.) Being able to buy yarn again and having the space to store it has, interestingly enough, mostly just made me really really really want to finally knit up everything I already have and clear it all away. This is an unnecessary but not particularly un-admirable goal, so I’m trying to go with it for now.
So, I’ve got some backlog to get through and some knitalongs I’d like to knitalong with that are focused on knitting what you already have, so I’m delaying the start of my shinynewknitting year to July 1. And OK, I guess I’m starting off the future by finishing out the past, but that’s probably not the worst approach, really.
1 Life-long Blanket: I’ve added 3 or 4 more squares. Not to the end of my squaring-off goal ’cause I ran out of new yarns. I’ve got some swaps on the way to help fix that, but I am so open for more if you have minis to trade. Comment, find me on Ravelry, I’m around.
2 Secret Project #1/’15-’16:17 #8: Done, and I promised details last time and then I didn’t take pictures or anything. I started some socks in 2010 when I was making my first attempt at a pair of socks/month. I got through the first one and it was way too big, which I didn’t realize till partway through the second one. I didn’t want to rip and redo, so I posted on facebook to see if anyone wanted them, since it would be easy to just finish up the second one and move on with my life. Which basically means I set them aside immediately and have owed my friend Stephanie a pair of socks for 6 years is what I am saying. I could not remember what mods I made after so many years and I wasn’t sure they would actually even fit her, so I ripped them out and knit some slippers just like these. So, picture those in green and a bit bigger and you’re good. Also let’s take a moment and praise my motivation to actually weave in the ends, wash & block, and mail these off like right away rather than making her wait another 6 years. 3 Shawl – Done.
4 Francis Revisited Revised: Nope.
5 Conference Call Socks: These are in my bag of “do something with these” socks. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, though.
6 Secret Project # 2: Considering this one officially on hold till July at least.
7 Possible Mittens: Still no clue where they are but the hat they were being made to match encountered yet another dye-bleeding-from-another-project mishap, so I think I’m just crossing these off the list and they will be ripped out if they are ever found.
8 Scrappy Scarf: I added a bunch more teeny yarn ends to the ball during my last yarn organization/swap prep session, but no knitting progress.
9 Ugly Knee Socks: Pretty well decided these are not going to become anything but a ball of yarn again.
10 Secret Project #3: Yes, I solved my problem with this. No, I didn’t go on and actually finish it.
11 Muriwai the Third: Knit another skein into it. Well, I kind of had to, since there were like 80 other yarns tangled around it and I couldn’t extract the thing any other way.
12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket: Sadly, no.
13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks/’15-’16:17 # 10 & 11: Oh god I don’t even want to talk about it.
15 Kiemurakukkaset: They don’t go with my new coat, but I still do believe that I will finish them.
16 Nether Garments: I know where they are.
17 Stripey Sweater: PROGRESS! I’m actually almost done with the body. I am super pumped about this.
18 Former Sweater, Future Pillow: Nothing new to report.
19 Gray & Yellow Shawl: It’s in a bag with all its yarn and needles.
20 Myrtle: Also on hold till July. I’m sort of in flux right now, body-wise, so anything that needs to fit something on me that isn’t a foot or a head is a bad idea right now. (The stripey sweater was knit to be roomy in the first place, so that’s the only one that’s safe to continue.)
21 Gray & Teal Scarf: Let’s no longer pretend this will be a thing.
22 Problem Socks: In that bag I talked about. Actually, I think everything in that bag might get turned into 2-at-time toe-up ankle socks (knit to the right cuff length! I swear!) and the leftovers set aside for a future scrap project.
23 Mending: DONE as previously established.
24 & 25 Mystery Projects 4 & 5: 4 is officially in progress, 5 is still a dream for someday.
26 ’15-16:17 #9: Good & done.
27 Wild Card: I have felt no urge to reach for this, oddly. Or maybe not oddly since I’ve obtained a ton of yarn and started a bunch new things that weren’t on this list so my wandering eye has been more than satisfied lately.
SPEAKING OF WHICH
Do you guys know about Mad Color Fiber Arts? I lurve her. She has this ability to get super bright colors and also put completely different colors right up next to each other without everything turning brown and weird in the middle. This yarn is one of the few things I miss about New Hampshire, even though I didn’t make it out to the store that stocks her stuff all that often. You can buy it online, of course, but I find pawing it all before deciding makes a big difference, so I haven’t bought any new stuff from her since before we moved. Dan was back in NH for a bit in October though and he returned with a skein + mini of Stalwart (75/25 Merino/nylon) in “Resistance is Futile” and a skein of Trance (80/10/10 MCN) in “Whose Side Are You On” so that I might have both Borg and Avengers socks. Because he looks out for me. Christmas brought 2 skeins of Sidekick in “Mermaid” and “Orchids and Amethysts” from my mother in law. This one’s a Targhee/nylon blend, and I have never knit with Targhee so I’m really looking forward to knitting these up. I’m thinking a shawl, since I am now a Shawl Person.
My Christmas presents from Dan included a skein of Knitted Wit Victory Fingering in “rock candy pink” and I’m so excited about it that I’m alternating with the Borg socks so I don’t have to sit over here pining away for it. And finally I went and helped count inventory at the yarn store yesterday and got paid in a gift certificate — which is a more than sweet deal, let me tell you, especially since 2 hours up to your elbows in alpaca yarn is almost payment in itself — and I grabbed this dying kit from Louet. One of the goals I’m not setting yet for 2017 is to take up dyeing a bit more seriously, and this seemed like a good little boost in that direction.
My goodness, folks. There’s a lot going on here, yarn-wise. Here’s hoping it’s the same for you. As for me, I’d better get back to it. It probably won’t learn to knit itself.
Well. A lot’s gone on since last we spoke.
I finished my year of socks project #7.
Pattern: just a plain old top-down ribbed sock, no particular pattern
Yarn: Mad Color Fiber Arts All American in an unlabeled colorway I picked up at NH Sheep & Wool a few years back
Needles: 2 mm/US 0 Karbonz DPNs
Gauge: Didn’t measure. The fabric came out pretty lovely but the socks themselves are a bit loose.
And then I finished my year of socks project #8 because why not. I don’t have a picture tho because these were a gift that was like a billion years overdue and I mailed them off before I got a picture.
At this point things were well past my October 1 deadline but I continued on with my year of socks and finished #9 for good measure.
Pattern: top down, just my usual numbers but with ankle socks this time
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Cold Mountain
Needles: 2 mm/US 0 Karbonz DPNs
Gauge: 8 sts & 10 rows and overall a bit loose
And continuing the ’15-’16:17 theme, we also have some progress on the socks I really didn’t want to finish!
Since the last 2 pairs were pretty much my standard everything but turned out oddly big, I decided I needed to do some rethinking and reworking of my standard sock plan. Lately I’ve been wearing my favorite old resurrected pink socks and another old pair that had their cast-off unravel years ago and I only just fixed them recently, both knit from the same yarn and the same pattern, and I’ve noticed they fit just fantastically. Now, it could be the yarn or the pattern or the gauge or who even knows what else. Since I’ve been knitting with some thinner yarns lately and don’t have a lot of sock needle options other than my 2 mms to test out the gauge variance hypothesis, I’m taking a cue from the pattern for my first attempt at figuring out my baggy sock deal. The pattern I used for these pairs was my go-to sock pattern for a long long time, but after a while I found I really prefer knitting cuff-down to toe-up and I haven’t really looked back too often. But toe-up does offer easier options for testing fit as you go, of course. (I know a lot of people say you CAN’T try on cuff-down socks, but you can! I swear! It’s just very poke-ish and harder to really tell if you’re matching the beginning of your knitting to the same place on your leg every time you check the fit, and neither of those things is an issue when you start with the toe. So, please just know that I fully support your “toe-up when you need to try it on” feelings, but please also know that trying on cuff-downs is an option, and I want you to have all the options in life, I honestly do.) And I was already feeling less than motivated to knit the mates for these 2 and thinking that knitting them in reverse might be my only chance. So, toe-up with my old standard pattern it is. Still using 2 mm needles and knitting exactly the size I always knit before, which matches the stitch count of my current standard top-down sock. I figure from there I can measure gauge and feet and ease and come up with a plan for the next pair. I will report back if there is anything interesting to tell.
After all this finished, I admit I got a little distracted and took a few yarn-buying detours. All of it was to buy yarn for specific projects we’ll talk about in a sec, except for this one:
Since stumbling across it when I was looking for yarn to knit Happy Street, I’ve been a little preoccupied with Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat. I can’t explain why, really, since I am not exactly a major Alice in Wonderland person. I haven’t even read it! But the yarn just kind of speaks to me. I’ve set a goal of collecting 1 skein of each color with the intent to knit…something…someday. I’ve got a good amount of Caterpillar and Dreamworld left from my shawl and I picked up this skein in Un birthday last time I was at my local-ish spot. It’ll take a while to collect as much as I want, but at least that gives me time to figure out what I’ll actually knit with it, I suppose.
And then there’s Loop.
Not part of the year of socks, not part of the allowable knitting project, just here to be pretty and succeeding at it.
When I was buying that Cheshire Cat for no immediate reason I thought it might be fun to buy something with the actual intent of knitting it. My last Stitch Fix box — which I haven’t blogged! I actually haven’t blogged 2 whole boxes! The blue room is not done and the pictures are just not happening, but I’ve gotten some excellent stuff! — had a perfect winter coat in like a cross between a navy and a slate blue. I am someone who always feels the need for at least 2 of hat/mittens/scarf to match each other at least a little and my coat at least a lot, but who almost never actually manages it. I spent enough on this coat and I love it enough though that I figured I should treat it right this time. So I got me some DiC Canyon in a leftover club colorway that’s this really lovely tonal gray.
First I knit a hat.
And then I knit some mittens.
And it was all over so fast I haven’t even made Ravelry pages for them yet. (I did wear them outside to shovel the driveway today tho.)
Patterns: Tin Can Knits Flax & The World’s Simplest Mittens — which showed up on Instagram the exact instant I needed to see them the other night (I know everyone on the planet but me is already on Instagram but here I go too: yarnandsass follow meeeeeeee!!!!!)
Yarn: Dream in Color Canyon, October 2015 club colorway maybe???, 70 g for the hat, 73 for the mittens
Needles: um…whatever the patterns called for
Gauge: um…it all turned out OK but the mittens are a bit big
Started & Finished: I knit the hat on 10/30 and I knit the mittens except for the thumbs on 12/3 & the thumbs were done on 12/4
Good lord, this is a lot of stuff. There’s just 1 more to get through, though, and it is pretty fantastic, I’m not gonna lie.
Pattern: Double Dutch by Katya Frankel
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Found Pottery & Neon Pink, just about 300 yds of each
Needles: 3.75 mm/US 5 bamboo circular
Gauge: pretty much exactly the 22 sts & 44 rows called for in the pattern
Oh lordy, folks, did I have fun with this. The mosaic pattern doesn’t show up quite as well as I was hoping, but there’s so much neon pink in this I can’t even care. I also got exact gauge, which never happens, and it shouldn’t really matter with a shawl, but I’m counting it anyway.
OK, I think that really is everything I have to show you. I’ve added a few squares to the blanket but nothing huge. (The blanket’s hungry, though, so hit me up if you wanna trade a bit.) I’ve barely gotten to the rest of the to-do list because I’ve been knitting up a bunch of stuff for the Etsy shop, and then not photographing or listing it. Sigh. Overall, though, I’d say the knitting’s going great and I can’t complain.
Well, it’s been just about exactly 3 months since I decided to try to climb out from under my pile of unfinished things. Let’s see how I’m doing so far:
1 Life-long Blanket: Progress! Yay! Read about it here. I need about 25 more squares and maybe 6 or 8 triangles to reach my next goal of squaring it all off. Hit me up if you wanna swap some minis.
2 Secret Project #1: DONE! BOOM! Yay me. Details to come.
(3 was done between starting the list and writing the post, so I don’t get any additional credit, but I’d like to just take a minute and enjoy that “I finished a thing!” feeling.)
4 Francis Revisited Revised: Have not touched. Will soon. Maybe.
5 Conference Call Socks: The too small/just right/too small/do I knit these again? pair. Still undecided but not feeling too excited about getting back to them.
6 Secret Project # 2: No progress. I have another thing I have to do first before I can work on this, so who knows if/when this will make an appearance.
(7 Mittens maybe? Maybe not? Sitting in a giant tangle somewhere.)
8 Scrappy Scarf: No progress, but looking at it again when I was organizing all my current projects to store in my NEW OTTOMAN YOU GUYS I GOT A NEW COUCH IT’S SO GREAT AND LURVE IT!!!! I looked at this again and realized I really really really love it, so it might still come to be someday.
9 Ugly Knee Socks: Think I’m gonna rip these and use the yarn for blanket/scarf/trading purposes.
10 Secret Project #3: Got over the hurdle that’s had this on hold for like a year. Still haven’t reached the finish line, but I can see it now.
11 Muriwai the Third: Gotten a few more rounds done, but nothing worth photographing.
12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket: No progress. I haven’t been knitting any worsted weight projects, hence no new worsted weight scraps.
13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks: I see 2 options for these. Give up and call them a pair finally, or knit the 2nd ones toe-up so there’s something different about them and maybe that will be excitement enough to make me want to do it?
15 Kiemurakukkaset: No progress. But it’s getting cold, so I should get on that. And make a matching hat.
16 Nether Garments: No progress, but again, it’s getting cold, so…
17 Stripey Sweater: I need to finish breaking up all that Noro into its component stripes, and I just haven’t felt like it yet. If anybody wants to come over and cut up yarn for an evening, lemme know.
18 Former Sweater, Future Pillow: PROGRESS! Got about half the back done. Yay! I’m using this as counter-knitting when my hands get tired of socks.
19 Gray & Yellow Shawl: Progress! Partway through the first (of I’m thinking 4) section.
20 Myrtle: Nothing. No swatch. Not even thinking about it.
21 Gray & Teal Scarf: Was only in the planning stages. I’ve swatched a bit and can’t get my idea clear between my brain and my hands. This one might just get crossed off.
22 Problem Socks: I have them all in the same place, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
23 Mending: DONE!
24 & 25 Mystery Projects 4 & 5: One started, measured, ripped, and restarted. One thought about but that’s about it.
26 Then-current Year of Socks Socks: Very close to done but then I had a lot of school reading and a short sock that would necessitate paying attention to the cast on, heel, decreases, and toe all in such close succession just didn’t work. I set them aside for the next pair and am almost done with them. Really I need one good evening off from homework and they’d both be done.
27 Wild Card: It’s in the ottoman. But leaving that space open for knitting something else and then you’re online one night with a friend who’s sending you all these shawl kit links and you’re kind of like wouldn’t it be great to do a knit-along together on the same shawl and then next thing you know you’re poking around Jimmy Beans’s Madelintosh stock, and, well,
The blue & brown are already on their way to being Loop for the knit-along. The speckles & pink are probably gonna be Double Dutch. Also Jimmy Beans winds up to 3 skeins of yarn for free and whatever part of my brain is like “yes, I will buy $45 more in yarn to avoid a $4 shipping charge” somehow couldn’t get me that extra $3 to wind the fourth one. I don’t even know, you guys.
Anyway, Loop and I are very happy together so far, but I’ll get back to the list soon.
No, for real.
Actually a little past halfway. I looked at my spreadsheet the other day (do you keep a spreadsheet for your blanket? I find it very helpful for knowing how many hundreds of thousands of stitches are in your blanket, if that’s the kind of information you find SUPER COOL and not INSURMOUNTABLY DAUNTING) and saw that I was at about 46% and thought it would be fun to gather up some notes to post here when I hit 50%. In the midst of all that I recounted and realized I had somehow missed recording something like 70 squares and was now overdue for the halfway-mark celebration post I had only just decided to write.
So, let’s talk about the blanket.
I’m doing the Shelly Kang one, with the centered double decrease and the squares arranged like diamonds and the jagged instead of squared-off edges.
It took me 11 days from when I queued it to when I had to cast it on.
This is the first picture I took of it:
I’m filling in the sides with triangles made roughly according to this post.
I love them.
I’m slipping the first stitch of every row and knitting the last stitch through the back loop. I had a question about how that all works a while back and decided to make a video rather than trying to use my words. The question got answered before I got the video posted, but lately I’m really fascinated by all the different ways people knit — how they hold the yarn, what their fingers are doing, etc. — so I figured I’d post it here in case that sort of thing interests you as well.
I’m writing this on Sunday 8/28; it has been 2,352 days since I cast on.
That’s an average of 87 stitches, or not even 3 full rows of a square, per day.
If I had knit 1 square a day until all the squares were done, and then 2 triangles a day until all the triangles were done, and then the 4 corner squares in 1 day, I would have finished on February 9, 2012.
It takes me between 20 minutes and a half-hour to knit a square, which means I could have knit at least a few rows of a square just now while doing all this unnecessary math.
I first wrote about it in this post.
Here is, I think, every picture I have posted specifically of the blanket on the blog since then.
I have posted lots more pictures of it in the background of other things and lots of pictures of swaps I’ve made to feed it and also all the endless yarn-end tangles I have dealt with lo these 2,354 (it’s Tuesday now) days.
It weighs 830 grams, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to weigh it much longer without buying a bigger scale.
It is 54.5″ wide by 41.5″ at its shortest point and 48″ at its longest.
It’s so big now that it takes my husband and the actual outdoors to capture it all.
It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made.
I can’t wait until it’s done.
So I can immediately start a second one.