Tag Archives: unfinished

Goodbye, February. I won’t miss you.

Seriously, was that the stupidest month ever, or was it just me? Maybe it was just me and you had an excellent February, which I do hope for your sake. I, though, am happy to see the back end of a month that could not possibly have been as long as it felt, especially considering it’s, you know, the shortest one.

But! I have knit a sock. I even started the second one right away.

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(Also, say hi to Fun Bobby, my new compuper. We are having lots of fun except he is too easy to get along with and this long-time PC user is constantly baffled by how nothing takes 75 steps or requires a wizard or anything anymore.)

And I got my lovely shipment of KARBONZ NEEDLES THEY ARE BEST from Jimmy Beans, along with a darling little Lantern Moon case.

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I ordered a second set of 1.5 mm, 2 sets of 1.75 mm and 3 sets of 2 mm needles. I think I have all standard sock knitting covered here. I need to get some 2.25 mm for the next time I’m tempted by some thicker sock yarn, but I can conquer almost anything with this range of sizes so I should be good for a while.

And now I’ve to go start March off right by packing as much excitement into this first weekend as I can. Today: rearranging the bedroom and using the new steam vac for the first time! And I’m not even being sarcastic about how excited that makes me.

 

It Wouldn’t Be Xmas Without Yarn

First up, I got a lovely skein of Island Alpaca Company 90/5/5 alpaca/wool/Tencel blend yarn from my mother-in-law. Just under 200 yards of worsted weight yarn very generously donated to the knitting world by Comet and Jack, who live on Martha’s Vineyard.

Most of this year’s yarn came via gift certificate. As always, I spent it promptly on the 26th because they’re like leprechauns, you know, and if you lose sight of a gift certificate for one second it might never come back again.

I didn’t have any big projects in mind this year so I went in with my only plan being to buy every skein of sock yarn I thought looked nice until the money had been spent. Just to be on the safe side, I grabbed a new sock size circular needle, too. It would be a shame to have all that yarn and no way to knit it. (Plus which, I’d never meet my new goal.)

I bought 2 balls of Trekking XXL, 1 of 1003 (the pinks in the front) and 1 of  158 (the one in the back, which I’m thinking of as gumball machine colors); 1 skein of Mad Color Fiber Arts Classica in Betta Fish; 1 skein of Ivy Brambles Sockscene Fingering Weight in Elegant Black (which is most definitely purple); and 1 skein of Mad Color Swoon (merino! cashmere!! silk!!! swoon, indeed) in Coal.

And since it’s after Xmas and the urge to cast on everything in sight has hit hard, that lovely long needle has already been put to use on Daughter of the Regiment.

These are gonna be so much fun to make I just can’t even tell you. In fact, I think I hear them calling to me from the couch.

Well, that took a while.

But I’m finally here! Shiny new website, folks. I can’t say enough good things about Dreamhost’s live support chat. Seriously. They took care of just about everything you’re looking at right now and it took them about 10 minutes each time I turned to them after struggling for a few hours to figure it out on my own. (Though in some cases I did actually figure it out, I just didn’t know how to do it, so I’m still very smart.)

If you’ve followed me here from the old site, thanks for stopping by. If you’re one of the lovely people who has made arrangements to follow the old blog, don’t forget to update your bookmarks/favorites/subscriptions appropriately so you can now follow the new one.  I promise I will continue to provide all the yarn, yoga and cooking content you’ve come to expect.

In fact, let’s jump right into some of that, shall we? These are my two main projects right now, a Grownup Bonnet in Malabrigo Merino Worsted and some ribbed Crazy Zauberball socks.

The Grownup Bonnet is going quite quickly but it’s turning into Frankenstein’s Scarf just a bit. The scarf knit up quickly but was just too short. I’m attempting to knit some extra length and graft, but my attempt on the first end is a bit scar-y. I’m going to see how the other side goes before I decide what to do about the first. Also the hood edge might be a bit too ruffly but I’ve already woven in and seamed over the cast-off end so I don’t know what I can do to fix that.

The socks are making me very happy but the best part about them is the needles they’re on. Those are 1.5 mm Knitter’s Pride Karbonz. I think I have finally found needles that are sturdier than bamboo but don’t make my shoulders seize up like metal. I can finally knit my Zauberball! (The need for needles like this has kept me from being able to knit with thinner sock yarns because I’m such a loose knitter that 2 mm needles don’t give me a sturdy enough fabric.) Now all I need is for them to not snap in half like wood and I will have new favorite needles and spend all my money on lots and lots of these. And it will be amazing.

That’s it for the yarn right now. The winter CSA has started so there is much cooking (cranberry bread! cranberry bread!! CRANBERRY BREAD!!!). And I’m hoping to have some yoga news by the end of the month. I shall return to chronicle all the excitement as it unfolds.

And I Can Make All the Rules I Want

Hey, you know what’s not Kristi or the blue sock do-over?

This.


Yes, so I am on vacation and have decided to just cast on all the new things that I want because life is too short to sit around trying to finish things just because you’ve started them. Seriously, that is no kind of way to live your life at all.

The proper way to live your life is rainbow socks. RAINBOW SOCKS!

Because I Make My Own Rules

Sometimes the part of me that wants finished projects and wants to have a little self-discipline fights with the part of me that doesn’t care how many sweaters I currently have in progress, it wants Apocalypta, and it wants it now.

Guess which part won the fight this week.

I also won the Great Yarn Cake Battle of Aught-12 this week. Lesson learned: do not use your ball winder on a skein of Seduce. That cake will just collapse and you will lose 3 evenings of knitting trying to undo it.

It was just the one victory for me, though. Overall, the yarn has won the winding war. After The Untangling I wound the second skein by hand, which we all know just leads to nasty little hand cramps and takes a year and a half. So, now my approach is both the ultimate in laziness and a fine example of efficiency in the skein-to-garment department, if you ask me. I am knitting directly off the swift. With 100-yard skeins, I think it takes less time to knit the skein than to wind the ball. I may, however, just be telling myself that so I don’t have to admit I got into a fight with 100 yards of yarn and gave up almost immediately.

I feel like I’m tearing through this project. I started it a week and a half ago, I haven’t worked on it every night, there were those 3 nights spent untangling, and I’m almost ready to divide the body.

I finished the first Kristi a while back but I still haven’t gotten moving on the redo of the first blue sock. I’ve gotten about half the stitches on the needles, if that counts for anything. I suspect I will have a finished sweater before I have another pair of socks. I think it unlikely I will meet my sock goal this year. In fact, I may make not meeting my sock goal for the year my new sock goal for the year so I can have something to aim for that I stand a good chance of hitting.

Decisions and Revisions Which a Minute Will Reverse

I should have so many socks to tell you about right now. Two, actually, which really is so many when it’s been so long since I finished a pair. A week ago I was doing alright in the sock knitting department. A week ago I was a full pair closer to my 2012 sock knitting goal, which was great because I’m really behind on that goal overall. Today I have regressed by half a pair – and I don’t mean by one sock. I mean by half of each of two socks.

So, what had happened a week ago was that I had finished the second experimental slipped-stitch-and-short-rows-sole sock. With the second sock I had played around with different ways to close the gaps between sole and instep where I turned for my short rows and most of them had worked well enough on one side. The other side still had noticeable gaps, though. I kitchenered the second toe, put the socks on, enjoyed that lovely new-sock hug you get before you wash and block and wear and repeat and it’s still lovely but never quite the same as that first time, and took a good look at those gaps. And I decided that it wasn’t worth it, any way you cut it.

Having a completed pair of socks checked off the to-knit list was not worth having a pair with lots of holes in them. Having just any pair of socks in my favorite sock yarn did not outweigh the desire to have a good pair of socks in my favorite sock yarn. I made up my mind right quick that I would rip out the soles of both socks, get ’em both set up on my new Knitter’s Pride 2 mm 40″ circ I’d been wanting to audition as a potential replacement for all those snapped-in-half Knit Picks tragedies, and finish up the soles all 2-at-a-time style in a weekend.

Quick, decisive action makes me feel like a more accomplished knitter. Wise. Experienced. Pragmatic, even. Ripriprip and those soles were gone. Rip a bit more and the heels were un-turned.  I re-turned that first heel with an image of my glorious, blue-socked future hanging right before my eyes. Then, I started on the second heel.

And one of the needle tips snapped in half.

And I swore a little.

(It helped.)

I don’t have any other 2 mm circs. Nor do I have more than one full set of 2 mm dpns, and the one full set I do have is wrapped up in Kristi. And so, where I was hoping to be able to tel you about a whole new finished pair of socks right now, alas, I can only tell you about three partial socks. My plan is to finish the first Kristi, finish one of the blue socks, then decide whether I alternate a Kristi and a blue sock again or finish up the second blue sock before starting the second Kristi. (Yes, I could probably buy more needles and work on both, but I gotta tell you, I am so over buying needles right now. I need some space.)

I don’t even have pictures to show you. The only project I’ve made real progress on lately is a secret. It’s all terribly sad, sad stuff. I promise I’ll be back soon with more vegetable stories and eventually a sock (or two).

A Good Sign

Socks are the best. To be more specific, socks that actually fit one’s feet feel better than just about anything else one can wear, in my opinion. I did not know this feeling until my late twenties, because I never wore socks that actually fit until I knit my first pair. All those wasted years without my feet knowing true love. It’s sad to think about now.

Even though I first came to knitting for the sweaters, I quickly decided that socks were just as admirable a pursuit. After all, they take me less time to knit, there’s not as much need to worry about them fitting because there are fewer variables contributing to the fit, and they’re small enough that ripping and reknitting is not so daunting a prospect.

I’ve found that I fall completely in lovetothepointofdistraction with just about every new pair of socks I knit. I get excited about the progression of the color or stitch pattern. I show them to my husband every 3 or 4 rounds – “Look how pretty my new socks are!!!” I put them on when they’re done and marvel at their perfect fit, their indescribable beauty, and the impressive amount of technical skill displayed in their stitches! I shove my feet in my husband’s face so that he might appreciate.

I think this means I’ve settled on just the right hobby.

I’ve even come to love things about sock knitting that I really did not like at first. My first top-downs with a heel flap? Hated knitting them, hated how the heel fit, though I was totally in lovetothepointofdistraction with the self-striping yarn and could not wait to get to the next stripe. After several toe-up pairs with gusset heels and some mildly unsuccessful attempts to modify heel flaps to other heel styles, I felt I knew much better how to knit a sock that fit me just right just about every time, so I tested my new theory on some top-downs with heel flaps. And, “Oh, my,” I said to myself. “These are awfully nice indeed.”

(I went through a similar skepticism-to-love progression with textured stitch patterns. I just hope this doesn’t mean I’m going to love lace socks someday. I can’t even imagine.)

My favorite part of any sock is the first 2 or 3 inches of knitting. If I’m working top-down, this is far enough to have finished the ribbing and started the leg, so I can see that I’m making progress. For a toe-up sock, I’m done with the toe and onto the foot and I can start trying it on to check my progress. In either case, there’s enough of a shape to the thing that when people ask what I’m making I can hold it up and say it’s a sock and they’ll sort of be able to see it.

For me, the most important part about this first bit of knitting is that when I’m working with a multicolor yarn I can tell if the second sock is going to look like the first or if it’s going to misbehave. I’m just at this point on the second sock of my current pair for the 2012 sock project. I’m excited to say things are going well.

Look how pretty my new socks are!!!

I’m taking a bit of time off from socks this weekend to knit a secret shawlette, then I think I’ll have these done with time to spare (deadline’s the 11th). I’m plugging away at the Oceania shawl as well, doing a few rows every night. I’m getting awfully cold at work these days and something squishy and warm to wrap up in would be nice.

Though, of course, whatever I’m knitting, I’m usually thinking about my next pair of socks.

AKB Update #1

One item from the Allowable Knitting Basket has been completed and two others are very close. However, I realized that there were more things buried in the bottom of the basket I forgot to mention last time, so first, an update to the list:

  1. The Unexpected Socks
  2. The only 2 things I’m knitting for Xmas presents
  3. Citron
  4. Francis Revisited
  5. Plain & Simple
  6. The Oceania Shawl
  7. The next Thor hat
  8. The 2nd Stripey Bed Sock
  9. Kristi
  10. The Kitchen Muriwai
  11. Xmas garland for the office
  12. The Fuck This Shrug Slipper Socks
  13. Last July’s attempt at Leyburn, which are destined for a friend if I can remember the mods I made and finish the second one so that it in any way matches the first
  14. A practice hat for the class I’m teaching next month
  15. A child’s sweater that came in this batch of yarns that just needs a collar, a seam, and some ends woven in

Progress has been made on the Unexpected Socks. I just have the ribbing on the second sock and some ends left to do. I’ve also worked a bit on the collar to the sweater. I think I can finish that one up entirely today. I really have no use for this sweater, but it was so close to done I saw no reason not to finish it, and I’m sure it will make a good addition to the potential trades pile. I have worked on one of the two Xmas presents but I’m contemplating a restart on it, so it’s napping until I make a decision.

The one thing I’ve finished this week is the practice hat. For next month’s class, I’m planning to work on knitting a hat flat and then seaming – I think coasters and dishcloths and scarves all make boring first projects, personally, so I thought a hat would have just enough different elements to stay interesting, be just small enough not to be daunting, and be just simple enough that it could be tackled once the basics of cast on, knit, and purl have been grasped. Thing is, I haven’t knit a seamed hat in a few years, so I wanted to do one myself just to make sure my theory checked out.

I wasn’t thinking about gauge and fit with this one, but I’m still pretty pleased I ended up with something that I can wear. It’s a bit big, but I’m growing out my hair and will need something to stretch over the pigtails in the coming months.

I’m especially happy with the deep ribbing. Very impressed with my own patience on that one. I always feel like my brims are too short.

Pattern: Nothing fancy, just 2*2 rib for a while, then stockinette.
Yarn: Patons Shetland Chunky Tweed, color Sea Ice, exactly one skein (except what I clipped after weaving in ends)
Needles: 6.5 mm
Started: Some time in November 2011
Finished: December 10, 2011

Kristi If It Kills Me

I bought this yarn recently, Lorna’s Laces Solemate, color The Bean. I showed you a picture before, but it’s pretty yarn and this post will likely not have another picture in it, so here, take another gander.

It’s my first Lorna’s Laces (as far as I know – there has been the occasional unlabeled sock mini) and I love trying a new yarn for the first time. I like to try to mark the experience somehow. The fact that Googling “outlast fiber” brings up links to fucking NASA, people, only made the need to do something special with this yarn that much stronger. This isn’t just yarn – this is space yarn. If I knit these socks right, then between them and my titanium wedding ring, I’m pretty much set if I ever end up in space without a plan.

Enter Cookie A. I have very specific rules about socks (no lace! no holes! make sleeves or somesuch if you want lace & holes!!), but I also like a challenge, so I have chosen to own a copy of Sock Innovation, which is not entirely full of lace and holes. It does have some Acceptable Socks, and when I pull it off the shelf for a browse, I focus on those. For example, I have Sam queued up and promised to a skein of Mocha’s Fiber Designs Molly’s Toes I picked up at NH Sheep & Wool last year, though I really wish the pattern continued onto the top of the foot and am considering mods on this one (very. specific. rules. for everything).

So, after I ordered the Solemate, I went looking for the right pattern, eventually settling on Bex. It’s possible this was mostly because the sample featured in the book is white, and my yarn was mostly close to white. However, I am not going to lie to you, so I will say right here for the world to see that the better part of my reasoning for making this choice was that I could call them my Beany Bexes. And tell you how I bought the yarn from Jimmy Beans Wool, thus making the experience that much beanier. (In fact, that particular purchase was beanier than you know, but that’s a story for another day.)

So, last night I cast on. And cast on. And cast on again. I would like to say I made it X rounds further than the cast-on (substituting any number for X, really, I wouldn’t have been that picky) at some point, but alas, no.

(Important background info: I have recently taught myself how to do a long-tail cast on purlwise and LOVE how this looks. Since I have always preferred the look of the purl side of a long-tail cast on, I’m also loving how it doesn’t involve any yarn gymnastics when I cast on, turn the whole thing around, then start knitting with the working yarn in totally the wrong place. And also how I can do a ribbed cast on, which is my new favorite thing.)

Attempt 1: I read over the pattern once, then checked the first row of the first chart. Seeing all purls and yarn overs, I did a long-tail cast on purlwise. So beautiful. I got on with my p2, yo, p3, whatevers, and after a while it all felt weird. I was like, “How is this only increasing about 20 stitches overall if there are, like, 18 yarn overs in the first round alone?” I ripped.

Attempt 2: I decided that I didn’t need to understand the math, I just needed to trust it, and I did exactly the same thing as in Attempt 1.

Attempt 3: See Attempt 2, except this time I decided to just go with the weird math in round 1 and fudge the numbers, and I actually got started on round 2. I got as far as “kfbfbf” and realized Ms A was just having a good laugh at my expense. I ripped.

Still wanting something intricate, elaborate, delicious for this yarn, I scanned the book one more time, briefly settling a few times only to see that made up instruction (kfbfbf – seriously, I was just in no mood to accept that that was possible) and realize I needed to keep on truckin’.

Then I saw Kristi. Reminiscent of Bex but not so intimidating (none of that kfbfbf nonsense, for one). Looked like it would be pretty in my chosen yarn. The suggestions for sizing down (a possibility I’m trying to keep in mind, since all these patterns seem to be written for an 8-inch circumference, slightly stretched, and I’d really need that 8 to be a 7 if I’m going to live any sort of fully realized life) seemed much more manageable than Bex’s no seriously this is easy suggestions.

I cast on.

I started the first round of the first chart. Thought it seemed a little weird. My eyes sort of started to cross, and as they did, they wandered across the page and I noticed something very important.

Something that looked like this:


K1TBL. That is not the same as YO. Nope, not even a little bit. I flipped back to Bex just to be sure.

I’m sure now.

I was YOing when I should have been K1TBLing. Also, all that long-tail-purlwise nonsense was about half uncalled for, as all those K1TBLs which were not YOs could have been cast on regular old knitwise to make things neater.

But, no.

I had already cast on 64 (which at this point was really 256) and I was not ripping this sock again. Even if I now understood what went wrong between me and Bex, I was not going back to her (and her nonsensical KFBFBFs). I had chosen Kristi and with Kristi I would stay, whether she was right for me or not. I was going to Marge Simpson the hell out of this sock.

I am halfway through the third round. No mistakes so far. With me and Kristi, it’s the real thing.

Blanket’s Day Out

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?

My oven asplode.