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:
LOOK. HOW. TINY!
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.
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.
Yesterday morning I went to grab a shirt for work off the drying rack and noticed my husband had hung up these socks too. I was a little “aw dang, I must’ve tossed those in with the regular wash” and figured they were probably shrunk but didn’t think much of it. All my shirts were all still pretty damp (WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THE MIDWEST WAS SO HUMID?????) and that was the much more urgent issue. I grabbed the purple shirt I wasn’t overly excited about from my last Stitch Fix box and put it in the dryer on low for about 10 minutes.
The shirt’s a polyester/rayon blend. Now, I know. I know that rayon isn’t meant for the dryer. But most of my work stuff is of the hang/lay flat to dry variety, and I’ve gone years and years before with most of my clothes being of that same variety, and I’ve found that most of it can stand a little dryer time here and there, especially after several wearings and washes. And this was on low. For barely 10 minutes. Basically, this was the safest risk I could take. Also I have another polyester/rayon blend shirt that recently accidentally went through an entire dryer cycle on high and came out just fine.
Here is an artist’s rendering of how not-fine this thing came out of the dryer:
It lost an entire foot of length. The width is still fine, and I can’t explain that, but now I have a super comfy crop top to sleep in. I had to wear a damp shirt to work and let the car a/c dry it on the way, but at least I avoided a lower belly sunburn and some weird looks around the office.
After all that, I was pretty convinced my laundry luck was just bad right now and I was for sure going to find those socks were ruined once I got home and could finally try them on. And once I had that thought, I realized it was kind of a welcome thought. My sock project has not been going very well, despite what I assure you are pure intentions, and I’ve had a hard time getting moving on my finish-all-the-things project too. The thought of these socks falling off the list due to an accident that was beyond my control (well, I mean, yes, I could have actually put them where they belonged instead of in the regular laundry basket, but let’s not dwell on particulars) felt like…absolution.
No such bad luck, though.
The thing about ruining socks in the washing machine is it doesn’t work if the yarn is superwash, even if you entirely forget that the yarn is superwash while you are fantasizing about how great it would be if they got ruined in the washing machine. They came out a little fuzzier than after a normal hand-wash, but they still very much fit and they still very much need mates. I could, I suppose, just let it go and say they are an intentionally mis-matched pair, but the thing is I don’t really like the orange and gray yarn knit up all that much and wouldn’t so much miss having a pair of them, while I love love love the brighter, fruity colored one and definitely want a full pair. I could just knit another fruity one and call it a day, but then I’ll have this one sock I don’t even like kicking around and making me feel weird.
So, I know what I have to do. You know what I have to do. Two more ankle socks, knit at the same time, just like the first ones. This shouldn’t feel daunting; they are ankle socks! They should only take me a couple evenings! I can do this! I know I can do this! You know I can do this!
I bet we both also know I’m gonna work on the sock blanket for a while first, though.
OK, this is it. Time to declare myself free of that weird crafting guilt you get when too many unfinished things pile up for too long. This is going to feel good. Let’s do this thing. I give you the Official List of Allowable Knitting for the Foreseeable Future, in Approximate Order of On-the-Needles Time:
No, I don’t expect to finish this, but I am giving myself a milestone to reach; I want to fill in the pretty jagged top so that’s squared off again and fill in all the side triangles (I have the bottom done & one side complete up as far as I’ve knit rows of squares, so the triangle part of the goal is pretty doable).
2 Secret Project #1
Almost exactly 6 years old, more than half done (though I need to recheck my gauge and see if I even can continue from where I left off or if I have to start over).
3 Giant Oceania Shawl
This one was still in progress when I started typing up this list last night, but honestly once I pulled it out to take pictures I just had that oh god so sick of thisfeeling I’ve been getting lately, and, well, here:
It’s really hard to get accurate colors in the spare room. Why those walls? Why?
Pattern:Triangular Shawl Recipe #2: Increasing Triangular Shawl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Oceania, color Java Needles: 5.5 mm/US 9 KP Harmony interchangeables for the body of the shawl, then it sat on the cord with stoppers for at least the last 3 years, judging by the date on my last Ravelry notes, and then yesterday I just grabbed 2 tips that looked big enough to bind off with but I honestly don’t know what size Started: 8/18/10 Finished: 7/3/16
When I started this, the plan was to have a giant blanket-sized shawl to keep me warm at work. It took longer to knit than it took that job to lay me off, though, and it’s just kind of been languishing forever since then. Seeing that this only took 130 g out of 400 and it was this big has me convinced I made the right decision and I never would have knit a giant shawl out of this. Also I just knit the giant shawl of my dreams and I don’t feel the need for another one. I found a friend who will give it a good home and I think we shall all be happier for it.
Maybe I’m done with these? Maybe I give them one more chance? Maybe I try to get the same size on the second one and find someone who’s like half a shoe-size smaller than me? Maybe I don’t have to knit this list in order so I have some time to decide.
6 Secret project #2
Started in 2013; high chance this won’t get done; best not to get into too much detail.
(There should be a pair of mittens here but I remember some horrible yarn tangles and I’m not sure if I know where one of the yarns that I need even is right now and also the hat & scarf they were supposed to match have had some stain misfortune befall them, so I’m gonna keep a place for them but not get my hopes up.)
I tried this one on yesterday to see how the fit was, and everything but the heel was great. I think my recent short-row-heel revelation extends to afterthought heels. Since I didn’t love the yarn anyway, I haven’t decided what to do with these. If I decide to finish, I’ll probably cut the foot off just above the heel and add a contrasting heel flap and then redo the foot. I just have to decide how much I care or how much I would wear these. My original plan was to wear them in my boots on the farm but that’s less useful to me right now. Idunno. But I’ll report back.
10 Secret project # 2
I can finish this. I CAN finish this. I can FINISH THIS!!!! And then you can see it.
11 Muriwai the Third
Big blob of green cotton. Nothing to see here.
12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket
I don’t think I ever showed you this! It’s fun.
I’m just sort of taking leftovers and knitting 20-stitch-wide garter stitch strips. For one strip, I’m alternating 2 colors and changing one of them out every 20 ridges. For the other, I’m splitting it down the middleand knitting until each color runs out. Not sure what I’ll do with the next ones. I think this will be like a 24″x36″ lap blanket maybe?
13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks
Haven’t started the second socks yet, but you can see that I intend to, since I actually know where both the yarns are.
When they’re done, they’ll look just like this but on the other feet:
Also then they won’t have to be mismatched anymore if I don’t want them to be.
So…that takes care of everything with a Ravelry project page. But that doesn’t take care of everything.
In less of any kind of order, here is what remains:
17 This is a sweater. I swear.
18 This used to be a sweater.
Back before the blog, I knit a Buttony.
While I was super excited to knit an actual garment, I think that face I’m making there pretty accurately sums up how I have tended to feel about the thing since. Like, sure, I’m kinda smiling but I’m not like smiling smiling. It’s nice. It’s OK. It’s lived in a box for 8.5 years.
It’s gonna be a pillow now. Probably a pillow with buttons tho ’cause dang I love those buttons.
19 Gray & Yellow Shawl in unphotographable yarn
20 Myrtle, which I am finally ready to swatch after like 5 years of thinking about it–in unphotographable yarn
21 Gray & Teal Scarf in yarn I am too lazy to photograph right now but would probably look fine if I did
22 Big Pile of Socks With Problems That I Should Really Fix
Not much in this category, thankfully.
24 & 25 Mystery Projects 3 & 4
26 My Current Year-of-Socks Socks
Hey, so if anybody’s having trouble getting in the right mood to knit short socks, let me recommend Iowa in July with no air conditioning. Let me also note that is the ONLY situation for which I can recommend Iowa in July with no air conditioning. Any time I think about socks lately all I can think is well there’s no point covering up too much of my legs, given that they’re about to melt off anyways.
27 Wild Card
This meets neither of my “on the needles or significantly along in the planning stage” criteria and I don’t even care. I bought this on WWKIP day to celebrate my local store’s 20% off sale. I have no idea what it’s going to be yet but I’m putting it on this list in case something comes to me.
OK, folks, I…think that’s it? Like, I really really believe this is everything. I don’t see how there could be more.
Cleaning up after a project is the worst. Weaving in ends once you’re done knitting is the worst. I’m trying really hard not to have the end of this blanket be 6 months of constant finishing — or worse, 6 months of me needing to do, like, 2 tiny things to finish it and just not wanting to deal with them.
So, I’ve been weaving in the ends on the blanket as I go. At first my goal was to go back every few rows and weave in a bunch at a time, but lately I’ve been working them in as I go by sort of wrapping them around the working yarn as I pick up the stitches for each new square. I think this method is working but I’m not trimming the ends too close until the whole thing’s done just in case. The back is still not looking sloppy, so I am very pleased about that.
I also made a decision about what to do for the border. I like the look of the jagged edge and attached cord in the original blankie but the prospect of actually knitting that much cord has never appealed to me. And I don’t want to leave it with nothing on the edges, because the corners of the squares flip up and the edge squares all look smaller than the middle ones because they don’t have something pulling on all 4 sides of them. I’ve been thinking about filling in the edges with solid color triangles to square it off, but looking at some of the projects where people have done that, I didn’t really feel that was the right choice for me either.
So, it’s triangles with the same yarn as the squares, and probably then a very thin solid border to frame it nicely. One thing I’ve found with this method, though, is that I have to separate the times I work on triangles from the times I work on squares or else I invariably end up halfway through knitting the wrong one before I realize what I’ve done.
So, I sit down every night with my Ziploc bags of yarn and my kitchen scale. I pull a ball out of the “unused” bag, knit my square, weaving the ends as I go. I weigh what’s left, and then the remainder goes straight into the correct container — my “can use again” bag if there are still a good 3 grams or so or my “triangles” bag if there’s about 2 grams, enough for an edge triangle. If there isn’t even 2g left, then I have another method for tidying up as I go.
I went ahead and started my scrappy scarf from the too-short leftovers that still feel like too much to throw away. I’m going with linen stitch and I don’t want to think about colors or stripes or amounts or weaving in ends or any of that nonsense, so I’m just plain tying all the ends together and letting what happens happen. It will be glorious or it will be hideous, or it will possibly be both. But in any case, there will be very little mess to deal with when this is all over.
So, I’ve been working on the Life-Long Blanket again lately. I needed something that didn’t take much thinking for evenings after work while we watch TV. I’ve been working on it again for a few nights but then I reached the point where I was down to my last 3 or 4 unused yarns, so I thought it would be a good time to get some minis ready for swapping.
Yesterday I pulled all the yarn out of the basket where the blanket lives. And, well. Hrm.
Now, maybe you’re a better person than I am. Maybe you’re very organized and conscientious about how you work on your blanket. Maybe after you finish each square you wind the yarn back up neatly and tuck it away so that it can’t unravel and so you never run into this problem. I don’t know what you do. Me, so far, I’ve been working on a system where I mostly try to keep the newest yarns separate, usually in the envelope I got them in ’cause most of my supply has been from swaps, and then as each yarn gets used, I toss it in the basket.
Seriously. Just in the basket. For 5 years now. The basket is a foot and a half deep! Sometimes when I run out of new yarns I’ll plunge a hand into the depths of the basket and do a few repeat squares, but mostly it’s just been get new yarn, use it, toss it in the basket. And I never thought about what a bad strategy that was until yesterday when I went looking to sort out some yarns to swap and see if I could maybe dig up a few more new ones that found their way into the wrong side of the “organizational system.”
So, this was how yesterday morning went.
1) Clear some space and spread the blanket out on the couch.
2) Realize how big it’s gotten.
3) Start believing I might see the end of it someday.
4) Pull a ball of yarn out of the basket, untangle its end, wind it neatly, and figure out whether it’s an Unused, Already Used, or Too Small for a Square But I Think I Can Still Do Something Fun With It.
This last step involved all those matching skills I haven’t used since I was 4.
Turns out I’m still very good at it.
5) (THIS IS THE IMPORTANT STEP!) Put all yarns away neatly in such a way that we don’t continue to have a tangle problem.
In the end I have 4 gallons of Already Used…
…one very surprising gallon of Unused…
…and a stuffed-full quart of Too Small for a Square But I Think I Can Still Do Something Fun With It.
(I’m thinking maybe a scrappy scarf.)
Now we only have 1 problem, really. I swear to you — I SWEAR! — I really did believe that if I just went through methodically, pulling out 1 ball of yarn at a time and untangling its loose end, that by the time I got to the last ball of yarn, that awful mess I showed you at the beginning would be gone. I truly thought that giant tangle represented only the loose ends of all the actual balls and cakes and butterflies of yarn that I could see in the basket. I can’t explain why I thought that, except to say that yesterday morning was spent waiting out a migraine hangover, so my cognitive abilities weren’t really what they could have been.
After all of that sorting and matching and untangling, this is what I’m left with:
No, it doesn’t look very different from what I started with to me, either.
Anyways. Who’s up for a sock yarn swap? I think winding up some mini skeins would be an excellent distraction from that mess.
It’s tough to get pictures of any blanket – even a partial blanket – in an apartment. If you want proper blanket pictures, you need two things: a tall husband (substitute with any tall photographer as you choose) and the outdoors.
I am a little further along on the Life-Long Blanket now than these pictures show. These were taken after five complete rows, and I’ve done a bit on the sixth since then. At its widest points (every other row) it’s 15 squares – 48.75 inches wide. Each square is about 3.25 inches along the center decrease line, and it takes two rows to add a full square’s height to the blanket due to the way the squares fit together. My plan right now is to knit 45 rows, which should bring the blanket’s dimensions to 48.75*74.75. That’s 653 squares, with 79 knit so far. And that’s not including a border. (For the border, I’m thinking a single solid color, either in another row of squares all around, or maybe triangles to fill in the jagged edges, or maybe squares then triangles to make a heavy, straight border. Good thing I don’t have to decide for a while.)
My supply of sock scraps is dwindling, so I must find some more trade opportunities soon. Actually, I have plenty of leftovers from my own socks – I tend to use only about 2/3 of a skein per pair – but I don’t want just a few yarns to dominate the blanket. My approach has been to work through all my own yarns once as well as the current supply of scraps from others, then refresh with a new trade and start over. This is making it a very good project for in-between times and I haven’t been able to work on it for long enough to get bored yet. I’ll work on and finish a bunch of new things, then get a new package of sock minis and it’s nothing but the blanket for a week or so, then back to other stuff, etc. I still can’t wait for it to be done, but then again I’m not really looking forward to having to hand wash this thing, so I can be a little patient.
As more progress is made, I will need to make sure there are more outdoor photo shoots (’cause just imagine this in the snow). I love this closeup, which you’ll recognize part of from my new header (unless you’re a future reader who’s stumbled across this post after I’ve changed the header; but trust me, it looked a lot like this and I really liked it).
In other news, the Thor hat knitting is complete and the pieces are soaking in the sink. I’m hoping to get this sewn up today and in the mail tomorrow. I really really really can’t wait to show you how this came out. I am so proud of it.
Finally, in other other news, wanna know what really livens up a Tuesday evening?
…and my 4th row of the Francis Revisited cowl. But at least I’m working on it. In true easily-distracted-procrastinator fashion (I seriously haven’t felt it this bad since about 7th grade), I have decided that my sock yarn blanket is the most important thing on the planet and keep putting the sweater down to knit a few more squares or even weave in ends (of all things!) on the blanket.
Lest you remember too much about all the promises I’ve been making to myself and posting for the world to see lately regarding that sweater, let me try to distract you with something shiny and new:
I paused both Farscape and all knitting progress a few times to make sure I ate some fresh vegetables today. I have a weekend to myself and need to cook a little more than I have been the last few weeks to make sure nothing from the farm share goes bad. This week’s share brought in some escarole, kohlrabi, scallions, broccoli, beets (it was supposed to be broccoli or beets, but there was another woman picking up her share at the same time who didn’t want either, so even though I’d chosen broccoli – sacrificing my desires to make my husband happy, I should point out! – she said I could have “her” beets; maybe thinking of others really is the right thing to do – who knew?), kale, garlic scapes, spring onions, lettuce, radishes, and turnips.
Truly, I want to go on at length about the wonders of the sock yarn blanket (and the turnips!) but I allowed myself a rather lazy day off and I can feel this post turning into nothing but parentheses and exclamation points if I keep writing, so I’m-a sign off a bit early.
Giant-Size Man-Sweater: Still in need of slip-stitch crochet to hide the gap in the seam. My wrist starts to hurt when I think about crochet, so this is still languishing.
Baktus, 2 hats, headband for a friend, Anhinga, Toasty, Laminaria: Totally still working on these. I swear.
Life-Long Blanket: All sock minis and leftovers collected in one place but no more squares added. Trying not to work on this until some other stuff is cleared out, since this doesn’t have a deadline and plenty of other stuff does.
September Socks: Damned handsome. Not sure they’ll be done by the end of the month, but since my August socks were really my mid-August to mid-September socks, I figure I have an extra few weeks and might just have to make some ankle socks or slippers later in the year to make my quota. This first sock really should be done by now, though. I’m about to knit the toe for the third time. I’ve made enough pairs of socks for myself at this point that I have my basic sock measurements & techniques settled, mostly cobbled together from several different patterns. On this particular sock, though, my standard foot measurement before starting the toe just didn’t cut it. My first toe, checked just before kitchenering, wouldn’t have stretched enough to accommodate my real toes, so I ripped back to the first decrease. I planned to do 2 plain rounds between decreases, but after 4 decreases it was still nowhere near as long as it should be. So, the toe came out completely and I’m putting in another half-inch or so before decreasing this time. I think the yarn is the reason the foot was too short. This is Mad Science Titanium. I don’t know if it’s that it’s an 8-ply yarn (don’t think I’ve used an 8-ply sock yarn before) but it’s definitely thicker than the sock yarns I usually use. Using my 2 mm needles over 56 stitches, like just about every other sock I’ve made for myself, I’m getting a much denser fabric. (Which I love, by the way. This yarn is so squishy and makes such a, well, damned handsome sock that I’m already dreaming of a cardigan made from this stuff.) So, I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t stretch as much as my other socks have, because the yarn is thicker or the fabric is tighter. Does that make sense? Anyway, I’m assuming it’s the yarn that’s making my stand-by sock pattern not quite work this time since I did everything else the same. Once I get this damn toe figured out, though, I’m pretty sure I’ll have my new favorite socks.
Drop-Stitch Scarf: A few rows when I can get to it. Not a deadline project, so it’s just something pretty I can pull out when I need cheering up.
Baby Cardigan & Mary-Janes: Past the yoke on the stripey baby cardigan. A few inches into the body. Lots of stockinette in 2-row stripes to get through. Thinking of finishing with ties instead of a button. Not sure yet. Started a pair mary-janes to go with last night. I’m the last person on the planet to find anything baby-related charming, but I still think these might be the cutest damn socks ever invented.
Baby Jean Jacket & Converse: Haven’t started the shoes yet. Back is finished up to putting the neck stitches on holders. Left front just about done.
July Socks: Best not discussed. I’ll get around to them eventually.
Shawl: Another project to pick up for a few rows here and there. No rush. The giant skein of Oceania ended up on my paper towel holder, which was the only thing in the house I could find big enough to hold it and stay in one place while I knit.
Cowl: Just cast on for this the other night. I cast on for Scrunchable, did the first 8 rounds in garter stitch, then tried those 8*8 cables. And decided after 2 that they were not happening. They look awfully pretty in the finished object, but I don’t think I have the patience for them right now. I took out that row, kept the garter band at the beginning, and am improvising a sort of widening garter stitch pattern, putting one more knit round before each purl ridge until I’m in the middle, then one fewer knit round between the ridges, then I’ll finish with 8 rounds of garter and hope it fits. Made to match the pretty cabley hat, which is done (except for weaving in & blocking, but that doesn’t really count).
Pattern:Knotty but Nice Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino in Grey Mix Needles: Plastic 16″ 4 mm circular. Went down a size from what the pattern called for to make a smaller size for me. Changes made: Unintentional, I assure you. I miscrossed every cable in the row that lets the 5 individual cables finally cross over into each other. So, they’re not all as nice and entwined-like as they should be. I didn’t notice this until I was doing the crown decreases, however, so they shall stay the way they are.
And that is everything Ravelry tells me I still have in progress. Hardly seems like enough.
The July socks have stalled. I won’t see the friend they’re for for a while anyway, so I’m just picking away at them when I get the chance. The August socks haven’t begun, because they’re being made for a trade on Ravelry & I haven’t received the supplies to make them yet. They’ll be stripey Jaywalkers & I’m getting sock minis in trade for the Life-Long Blanket! The September socks are calling my name but I must. not. start them.
The Life-Long Blanket – have I told you about this one? Mitered squares of sock yarn following Shelly Kang’s pattern. It started here…
…and is now 11 squares wide. I think I’ll go for 20 squares wide. I like my blankets big, so this will take a while, but it’s so easy to get on a roll with those little squares. I’ll sit down for a few minutes & do at least 2 easily.
The drop-stitch scarf has not progressed much but is still so damn beautiful I’m going to show it to you again.
2 of my work friends are due to give birth in the next few months. I’m glad baby stuff is quick to knit & can be made out of sock yarn. More leftovers for the blanket!
The Giant-Size Man-Sweater is going to fit! I’m partway into the shoulder shaping, just far enough that Dan could try it on the other day. It looks like it’s going to be perfect. I’m so relieved.
The Anhinga sleeve/gauge swatch has been sitting in the basket about 2 rows in for months. And then I got all that Noro Kureyon to make the Hacky Sack Hoodie, which seems way easier, and…we’ll see when the next sweater for me happens.
As for all the stuff I was working on in my last post, I’m still working on it. I’ve added “trying not to get stressed out by not doing these things when I think I should” to the end of the list as well. Tonight, for example, I skipped yoga class & came home because I wanted to give myself a chance to just be by myself, puttering around, doing nothing if I didn’t feel like it. Sort of a moving meditation, I guess. No one to talk to (OK, I talk to the cat sometimes), just settling into my own head & trying to be comfortable there for a few hours. And it’s not so bad so far.