Open For Business

It’s usually the case, when things go quiet around here for a while, that I’m stuck right in the middle of another semester and making such slow progress on my knitting that there’s just not that much progress to show. Half of a sock cuff looks very much like three-quarters of a sock cuff, and I think you’ve all seen enough partial sock cuffs by now that I couldn’t possibly excite you with that level of progress. However. Things are a little different right now. While the semester stuff is totally true this time around, there’s nary a three-quarters sock cuff to be found around the place. I’ve actually been making a ton of progress on my knitting lately, it’s just that it wasn’t knitting I was ready to show you.

I can show you now, though, because the Yarn & Sass Etsy shop is totally officially open and ready for you to buy all the things!

Well, OK, not all the things. Like, seven things. But that’s still way more things than I’ve ever knit in the course of one semester, I think! I am fantastically pleased with this situation. And I’m expecting there to be a few more things popping up in there on a roughly weekly basis.

Do click through and check out the shop, but here’s a little preview of what you’ll find there just for funsies:


Filed under Uncategorized


That’s my knitting philosophy. Usually I don’t mind, but I find I tend to put it into practice extra hard when I’m knitting for someone else. I try to offset this by only ever choosing to knit for other people I really, really like who I know will really, really want what I’m knitting for them. But then what happens is the more important the knitting becomes, the more other things in my life seem to crop up to keep me from it. So, I end up only knitting for others when it’s important knitting for important others, and then missing my deadline by a good 6 months.

My point is, I finished Common Ground, and it only took me 10 months to knit a bulky-weight sweater on 5.5 mm needles.


There’s really no excuse besides life and school and stuff. But it’s done! Overall, this was a pretty straightforward knit. Mostly, I just followed the instructions except for sort of winging (with a little help from Ravelry notes) how to widen the front to add buttons.


I worry it may be a bit roomy in the shoulders, but that’s sort of standard for a raglan, I guess. And if it is, that just makes it even better for layering. The sleeve length is perfect, though, I think. Long enough to graze the knuckles, and the ribbing is deep enough to fold back and stay put. I had my doubts about the hood while knitting it, because it didn’t really look like a thing, but it turned out just right.

It may have taken way too long, but the finished product is something I feel quite good about. And at least when you knit for grownups you don’t really have to worry about them growing out of things by the time you’re knitting. (Ask me why I’ve decided to only knit blankets or stuffed animals for any future babies I may knit for.)

Pattern: Common Ground by Elizabeth Smith
Yarn: Cascade Eco +, color 0508 Berry, 14.625 oz/793 yds
Needles: US 8 & US 9 bamboo circulars
Started: December 2013
Except for fixing a weird bindoff error I could not even understand but only notice once I was taking the finished pictures, October 14, 2014
Mods: widened the front by 8 sts/side to add buttons


Filed under knitting

2 Socks is a Pair of Socks, Right?

I really hope so, because I’ll take all the milestones I can right now.



On the right, we have a do-over. You might remember these socks from my “finish all the things-along” last year, when they looked like this:




I started them a little over 3 years ago to keep my hands busy on a weekly conference call at my old job. I remembered trying this sock on after I finished the toe and cut the yarn and used some of it in my sock blanket, only to realize it was a little too short. So, my first point here is NEVER do this with a self-striping yarn if you like to maintain stripe pattern consistency. My plan since then has been to rip out the toe and re-knit it in a contrasting tan Kroy that I had lying around. I never got to these during the knit-along, though, and didn’t get back to them until a few months ago.

At which point I realized this sock was actually a good inch or so too small in pretty much all dimensions. I could barely get it past my ankle and then I couldn’t get the heel where it belonged, and it actually kind of hurt to even get it that close to on. So, my second point here is NEVER knit a sock on a conference call at a job that really really stresses you out, because things will happen to your gauge that you will not be able to control.

And I guess my third point is NEVER trust your memory of what happened 3 years ago. Or maybe never trust your feet? I honestly don’t know if it’s my memory or my feet that have changed since then.


But it’s all been fixed. I ripped the whole thing out and did the cuff, heel and toe in the contrasting color this time around. I even cast on the second cuff right away, but after just an evening or so of that, it was time to go to San Francisco and I wanted something a little fancier and that didn’t have any unpleasant memories attached to bring on the plane. Enter Java and this glorious hot pink stuff I’ve been hanging onto since the 2010 NH Sheep & Wool.

I made good progress on the plane.



But there was a problem. And this time it wasn’t gauge (well, I don’t think it was gauge; I never check the gauge on socks but the fabric I was getting seemed just about right to me) and it wasn’t stress, it was just that the 60-stitch size was too small and I had a feeling that the 84-stitch size would be too big. The next few problems I ran into were totally my fault, though, so no worries on that front–I’m still TOTALLY able to screw up a perfectly decent pattern through my refusal to count or pay attention to detail.

I don’t even remember everything I did wrong when re-doing these, honestly. It involved a lot of believing I could create an in-between size if I just did the math right, then doing all the math wrong, and then just deciding that I had screwed things up enough that it was better to just look at the pictures and go for the idea of the sock rather than trying to fit what I had done incorrectly into what the pattern was telling me to do. But, hey, in the end I ended up with an awfully pretty sock that fits my foot, so I guess we can’t say this was a total failure on my part.

I just really hope I can recreate what I did for the second one.


Filed under knitting

They’re Like Leprechauns That Way

Any time I tell myself I’m going to do all the finishing work before taking pictures and blogging a finished project, it’s practically a guarantee that project won’t end up on the blog, so I try to just grab at least one picture as soon as something’s done so that I have something to blog about. If I leave it too long, the whole idea of blogging disappears, and then sometime the project itself disappears in one way or another. After I weave in all the ends, wash, block, etc., sometimes the thought of modeling and sorting though pictures for the best ones and editing photos and such is just too much. Sometimes it doesn’t fit in my schedule to even do the proper photo shoot deal in the first place. Sometimes the item is a gift and there just isn’t an appropriate time to get finished photos before it’s given. (Ask me to tell you sometime about the just plan adorable Sophie I knit last year. I don’t think I ever even mentioned it here.) Sometimes I just don’t want to lose the finishing momentum so I just grab a few pictures wherever I happen to be — sometimes I pluck all the cat hair off the knitting, sometimes not — and move on to the next project.

Sometimes I knit socks and they’re socks so I don’t really even care that much about finishing beyond weaving in the ends.


I’m calling these A Little Something on the Side. Two-by-two ribbing for the cuff with a one-by-one ribbed section running down either side. I continued the one-by-one rib down the heel flap and the toe, as well.

Yarn: Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm Merino Sock, colorway Muddy Waters
Needles: 2 mm Karbonz DPNs
Started: July 1, 2013. These were my “must keep distracted by something purdy during the horrible moving week” project.
Finished: June 17, 2014. This has been the kind of year where taking a year to finish something as quick as a mostly plain pair of socks feels just about right.

But look at that – I finished these over a month ago, took a picture immediately, and they STILL almost didn’t make it onto the blog! These knitted things are tricky little bastards, I tell you.


That finishing momentum is an amazing thing when you find it, though. Because, looky here, it’s another actual pair of finished socks! (Photographed a few minutes after I finished them, at the laundromat, and before I bothered pulling any of the cat hair off.)



Pattern: None. Just a pair of basic toe-ups with gusset heel, two-by-two ribbing at the cuff and Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off to finish.Yarn: Kroy Socks Stripes in colorway 55616 Mulberry Stripes
Needles: 2 mm Karbonz DPNs
Started: Um…some time before March 15, which is when I showed you the yarn and said I’d already knit a whole sock with it.
Finished: July 17, 2014

Overall, another lovely Kroy experience, though these two balls did have a few knots in them. You can see one of them right in the middle of the cuff, even. Also you can see how I don’t bother cutting knots out of sock yarn. I’ve never run into knots with Kroy before and I’m never that worried about my socks matching, so I’m not really that bothered by it.


Now it’s time to let that finishing momentum propel me through the second sleeve of Common Ground. Some cat whose name I will not mention yanked all the needles out of that sleeve the other day and some stupid knitter whose name also will not be spoken here decided to pick the sweater up by the working yarn for some reason yesterday, so, well, there’s a bit of fixing to do before the finishing can begin. But it’s all too painful. Let’s not speak of it again


Filed under knitting

It’s Working! (And a life update.)


That, my friends? Is proof of button band. And since it goes all the way up, around the hood, and then back down again, it is also proof of a button hole band. And and I have even moved on to the sleeves.

There has been some sock progress. Also longing fondling of some yarn at the bottom of the baskets, but no – I repeat: NO – new projects cast on.

This accountability thing is working. Folks are checking in, most notably my lovely friend Jess, and I am feeling a sufficient amount of obliation/shame – but, for serious, in the most positive way! – knowing that anyone might check in at any time that I am chugging along and have full faith that by the end of the month I could easily have a finished project or two.

Accountability is glorious. Let me know (in comments, or here or here) if you want in.

Also, in personal news, now that I’ve linked to my Ravelry and Twitter pages, you might have noticed that I’ve given up randipants and changed my name. This is an across-the-board, screen name, real name, everything for all time name change. I might write more about it here at some point, but for now I just wanted to let y’all know that if you see an Aoife around your blog and/or happen to wonder where randipants went, that’s what’s going on.


Filed under knitting, life stuff


Another semester ends, and the dormant knitter emerges from her cave.

She looks around herself and thinks oh dear.




Oh, deary dear.



Something clearly needed to be done about this. Something also needed to be done about the fact that I have barely knit a single stitch in weeks. Unfortunately, something also needed to be done about the 10-page paper that was due by the end of the week.

Enter the Unfuck Your Habitat 20/10, fixer of almost all problems in life.

One 20/10 later, one basket was emptied, minor progress had been made on the outline, and very minor progress had been made on the cat hair buildup situation.





Repeat. Another 20/10, another basket, more outline, less cat hair.




(Also, if anyone can explain exactly how so much cat hair ends up all over my yarn and baskets, please let me know. I am at a loss, honestly.)



I thought it would be just another 20/10 to take care of the next-to-the-couch pile as well as the outline, but there was a shocking number of unwound but half knitted skeins in that basket so I switched to 45/15′s.

I’ve had to employ some new winding techniques since giving up the swift and ball winder.



This one works best when the air conditioner’s running.

Also, if you’re the type of person who likes pigtails and caramels and has unruly bangs, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you clean out your yarn baskets.



Because seriously.



All this stuff was in there.


It’s all sorted away neatly now, though. And I checked everything against my Ravelry notebook to make sure  it was listed and photographed and accounted for properly.

Now comes the hard part. Doing something with it. And I need help on that one.

The semester is over and I have 11 days before classes start again and 7 before I start my summer job. I think I can get a good amount of knitting done in that time, but it’s the long-term knitting I’m concerned with. I think I’ll have more time and less stress this summer than I had this semester, and I think that will translate to more knitting, but I need something to keep me honest. I need to be held accountable to my hobby.

So, I’m going to try to post a regular update here on how I’m doing, but of course “a regular update about how I’m doing with this whole knitting deal” is basically the only reason this blog exists, and look how well that’s working out right now. So, what I’d really love is for people to check in on me. And I was thinking that some of you out there could probably use a check-in here and there as well, because I know I’m not the only person with 3 overflowing baskets of unfinished projects sitting next to the couch glaring at them every night. So, maybe we can help each other out. I don’t care how we do it – we can buddy up and promise to visit and comment on each other’s blogs to make sure we’re making progress, or if anyone wants to leave the occasional comment on my projects to see how things are going I’d be happy to do the same for you, or, I dunno, we could all tweet at each other with some regularity and demand progress pics – but I need a little external motivation and I’m happy to provide it for others as well.

And in the interest of accountability, I even made a checklist of what I will consider legitimate progress  on my most urgent projects:



There. Now, somebody – PLEASE – hold me to it.


Filed under knitting

Gifts from the Internet

I am just a huge fan of how much stuff I can acquire without having to get off the couch, and often without having to pay real dollars for it. Seriously, the internet has done so much for my yarn stock. In the last few weeks I’ve gotten a few little packages that are increasing the sock:other yarn ratio quite nicely.


There you have some Patons Kroy I got in a Ravelry trade. The bad light in this apartment does not do justice to how neon that yellow is, but some of the entries in the Ravelry projects gallery give you a better idea. This is a yellow, yellow yarn, and I don’t have anything like it, and I cannot wait to introduce it to Cookie A. There’s only 1 of the stripey Kroy because I kind of couldn’t resist and I already knit a sock out of the other skein. One of those things that just happens before you even realize it sometimes, you know? And all those tiny balls are fuel for the Life-Long Blanket. Stephanie over at woolythyme was working on a sock blankie recently and offered to share her minis with her readers, and there is no way I can resist an offer like that.

Common Ground is coming along nicely, after a few false starts wherein my ability to count and follow simple directions sort of took a vacation. I’m past the lace on the body and just a few rows away from the bottom ribbing. Really this would take about 3 good, solid evenings’ worth of knitting to finish, but with my school/work schedule, it will probably be another week. But it will happen, and it will be beautiful!

In life news, school’s OK, work’s OK, my little business venture is more than OK, and over at the other blog I’m getting very close to the end of Alias season 1 and starting to feel almost OK about the whole series. But the real big life news, the most exciting life news, is this:


His name is Mix Fleetwood. Isn’t he handsome?

We got a really big tax return, so I got a really big treat. I love him and I use him almost every day even if I’m just making scrambled eggs for 2, and he’s basically the greatest thing. And he’s sooooo purple!



Filed under buying yarn, cooking, knitting, life stuff

Tuesdays & Thursdays

Class from 8-9:15, class from 2:30-3:45. Considering that class is an hour from home and I can’t afford lunch out every day, this means there’s a 5-hour library break in between to fill. I’m getting most of my homework done on campus, which is nice. Lots of reading time, which means the sleeve do-over on the Green Lantern sweater is coming along nicely.




At home, Common Ground is humming along as well. Not good book knitting, since I’m into the lace section and its one row to pay attention/one to knit plain rhythm.


Photo on 1-10-14 at 8.27 PM

Other than that, there’s some sock knitting going on, lots of cooking, and very little picture taking. Mostly I just wanted to stop in and say hi, blog, I’m still here and I’ll have pretty pictures for you soon, I promise. I seriously almost have a full pair of socks I think you’re going to like and some new sock yarn I think you’ll be all like WOW over.


Filed under knitting, life stuff

Let’s Do This

It is All Motivation All The Time time chez randipants, you guys. It kind of has to be. I need a job — well, a second job, since I have a part-time one right now — I need to knit, I need to feed myself, and all sorts of other things that MUST happen for life to continue. First, though, I need to do some catching up here.

Where to begin? The semester’s over. I survived! And my grades were decent! Yay me! And I don’t have to go back till late January!! Double yay!!

I started a business! And I’m super pumped about it! It’s an errand service – grocery shopping, doing laundry, house cleaning, that sort of thing. If you know anyone in the seacoast NH are who could use a little help with that stuff, I’m your girl. It’s called A Little Help (because I’m clever like that) and you can find it here: and here:

I’ve managed to knit a little! I made some ornaments for my  mother-in-law to sell at craft fairs. Little sweaters, stockings, and, of course, (I mean, it wouldn’t be Christmas without some) balls.


Then I started making little mitten sets and couldn’t stand the cute so I had to take a break.


I’m partway through the yoke on Common Ground, which I’m knitting on commission for a friend. A friend who’s just about my size, too, which should make getting this one just right pretty easy. The only snag I’m expecting is that she wants buttons, where the pattern is written as an open cardigan, and I’m not sure yet whether to work extra increases for the front after the raglan shaping is done, or if I should just go with super-wide button bands. (Must decide soon, of course.)

I also have a little list of “pay it forward” crafts that I’ve been sitting on (figuratively) for a while that I’d like to get done in the next few weeks.

I restarted the sleeves for my Green Lantern sweater and the first one is coming along nicely.

Other than that, though, there hasn’t been a ton of knitting progress. Once I’ve got a job (second job) lined up, there will be less time spent job searching, and thus I expect more knitting time. And then I’ll have much more to share here, but for now I just wanted to pop in and say hi.



Filed under knitting, life stuff

And Then I Just Did Something Else Instead

OK, so, I think we should all know by now that I’m not great with achieving knitting goals. So, it should be no surprise that, after 2 steady months of trying my best to focus on existing projects, I only got my original list of 16 unfinished items down to 14. For those doing the math along at home, that’s 16+1-1+2-5+1=14.

I started with 16 projects for the knit-along, plus my sock yarn blanket, which I was not counting because that will be done at some point this decade if I’m lucky. I finished my Long & Toasty mitts, then found 2 washcloths I hadn’t finished. I finished the washcloths up. I ripped out 3 sweaters that were just never going to happen as my final entries in the knit-along. Then I cast on a blanket. And here we are.

Do I need a new blanket? Well, I think I do. And it’ll sure clear up some space in the yarn drawers, which has kind of become my entire life’s goal right now. (This new apartment is tiny, so tiny, so very, very tiny, you guys. I need to get rid of some drawers.) If all goes to plan, this thing will clear out 12 balls of Noro Kureyon and 5 of Patons Classic Wool. Plus I had to make up a spreadsheet to keep track of the pattern, and if there’s anything more fun than that, I want to hear about it.

And anyway, even if I don’t need it, exactly, once I could see it in my head, it was so pretty I couldn’t not get started right away.

It’s pretty out of my head, too.


In other knitting, I’ve taken a break from the Green Lantern sweater because I couldn’t get the sleeve or the neckline quite right and hadn’t decided how to fix them. I think I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to rip out the neckline, sleeve and shoulders, then reknit the sleeve (and, you know, a second one) from the cuff up, join to the body at the shoulders, and finish the whole thing in the round according to EZ’s seamless set-in sleeve instructions. I did the body flat and the sleeves top-down before because I wanted the sleeves to be black all the way to the top. But I’m tired of trying to mess with the numbers and, because I made up the armholes and neckline, they’re not as perfect as they could be, so I think I’ll feel better about the whole thing if I just make the tops of the sleeves green where they join the body. That way I don’t have to make anything up or do any fiddly intarsia-in-the-round tricks. Hopefully I’ll have some progress on that for next time.

In other not-knitting, I’m having so much fun over at the other blog talking about Alias and its various delights and stupidities. If you’re never quite sure whether Alias is the absolute best or the total worst, do please check it out and join the conversation.


Filed under knitting