Category Archives: knitting

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.

 

Who knows when I'll get to weaving in the ends, so let's go ahead and say YAAAAAY I FINISHED MY SHAWL!!!!

A post shared by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

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:

 

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.

 

IMG_0177

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.

 

IMG_0187

 

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?

Happy New Yay!

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?

 

2016 RECAP

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.

 

2017 GOALS

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.

To that end, here’s my progress on my Independence Yay list since my last post:

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.

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

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.

 

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

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

 

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

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.

Independence Upd(y)a(y)te

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,

 

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NEW COUCH IN THE BACKGROUND!!!!!

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.

I promise.

 

Blanket at the Halfway Mark

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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:

 

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LOOK. HOW. TINY!

 

I’m filling in the sides with triangles made roughly according to this post.

 

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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.

 

It’s here if you click it. I’m sure I could learn how to embed it but why learn something new?

 

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.

 

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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.

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Surprisingly On Track

I’m still plugging away on my Independence Yay! list, I promise. I actually finished the second-oldest (secret) item on the list, but I can’t show you yet. I wanted to move right on to one of the other secret projects, but that one requires some rethinking and redoing and paying attention, so I wanted to hold off for the weekend. It’s starting to feel a little chilly here in the mornings and I had a hankering for some squishy garter stitch slippers (in doubled fingering weight so they would count towards my ’15-’16:17 list instead, of course) so that’s what I did instead.

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I bought this yarn last year on one of those really terrible “this is a really terrible day, so I’m going to buy a bunch of yarn” days. It did its job of cheering me up, but I’ve had a hard time seeing the red and black one as socks. I also haven’t had any other ideas about what to do with it. Thursday night when I was looking for something quick to knit, though, I could totally see it as squishy slippers.

 

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It did not disappoint. But the best part is that when I went to find the yarn in my queue to record this on Ravelry (I had the full list of 17 yarns for the year queued up in order), it turns out this was actually the next yarn on my list. Totally without meaning to, I got myself back on track for my year of socks. Aside from the fact that this is #6 out of what should be 15 pairs by now. But other than that, I’m totally on track.

 

Pattern: JMCO 8 sts/needle, garter stitch in the round working the toe increases on the knit rounds, increase to 32 sts total, W&T short-row heel without knitting the wraps, elastic bind-off
Yarn: Vice Paradigm, color Hard Hearted Hannah, 64 g
Needles:
3.75 mm/US 5 bamboo DPNs
Gauge: 
20 sts & 40 rows in garter stitch over 4″  
Started:
8/25/16
Finished:
8/27/16

Some Kind of “Oh, Darn” Pun for a Title

My friends, today I approach you with excellent news. I have achieved a thing! One entire item knocked off my Independence Yay plan! Yay! I present to you some freshly darned socks, knocking #23 off my list. That leaves 26 to go, so at my current rate of 1 every 47 days, I should be done with the list in…3 years…4 months…you know what, how about a picture?

 

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This is some old knitting I’ve fixed up here, let me tell you. The one on top was knit in 2012, the first pair of my first year-long attempt (and failure) to knit a pair every 3 weeks. The yarn itself is 100% cormo 2-ply sport weight I bought at the 2010 NH Sheep & Wool and dyed with food coloring. I made them for squishy bed socks but I still wore them around the house enough to wear a hole in one of the heels some time in the last…Idunno, few years maybe since I put them in the mending pile. I never really had a plan for the leftovers, so I had plenty to patch them up with.

 

The pink ones are my favoritest pair of socks ever in my favoritest sock yarn ever, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select. These date back even further than the stripey bed socks, even further than the blog, all the way to 2009, and also to the second-ever square in my sock yarn blanket:

 

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Slight side-track to talk about this picture:

1) I knew this numbering would not last long given the scope of this thing, but it was pretty fun to keep track for a while.

2) The socks I knit with 1, 2 & 3 — these socks, these socks, these socks — have outlasted the socks I knit with 5, 6 — both DIC Smooshy — 4 & 8 — both KP Gloss — by YEARS. Granted #1 — Berroco Sox — may have lasted so long because they were mostly unwearable around the house until I fixed them, but the other two pairs have had regular wear, in shoes and around the house, for years, and #2 — Patons Kroy — still hasn’t gotten one hole or even a thinning spot.

3) 7, 9 & 10 were never socks so I can’t talk about how well they wear. Well, 10 was socks, almost. Sort of. It’s probably socks by now for all I know. 10 is Cascade Heritage, which is a beautiful yarn to look at and pet, and I am always drawn to it in yarn stores before I notice the label, and a long time ago I knit one sock out of it and it almost killed me, and I sold the finished sock and the rest of the yarn to someone on Ravelry ages and ages ago and kept back a few grams for this square and every single stitch of it was a misery I don’t really have accurate words for. You guys, I really really hate knitting with that yarn. It’s splitty and it feels like cotton and it sticks to bamboo needles way too much and oooohhhhhh it makes me angry and it all comes back to me every time I look at this square but it’s also so so so pretty that I still like having it in my blanket.

Anywho, back to the pink socks. The soles started to wear through in spots a year or two ago now, and I tucked them away the instant I noticed so they wouldn’t be completely ruined. I will never be ready to say goodbye to these socks, and I would rather have them sitting unused in a bag enjoying their retirement and at least not gaining any new holes than continue asking them to sacrifice their beautiful selves bit by bit for my comfort. I made a mental note to finally learn darning but then I was always knitting new socks and these never felt too urgent when I wasn’t staring directly at them. Eventually I got off my ass and learned. By then I had used up the rest of the leftovers in swaps, but luckily I appreciate some visible mending. All of which is to say the gray heels are actually my second go at darning these.

 

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Now that they’ve been resurrected (twice), I’m assigning these officially and exclusively to bed sock/lazing about duty while also vowing to keep mending them until there’s nothing left for the mending to grab onto, at which point I will probably cut the cuffs off and knit them new feet I love them that much.