How Long Between FOs Until You are a Born Again Knitting Virgin?

 

Have I really not had a new FO since December of 2014?  Does that make me a born-again knitting virgin? I certainly haven’t knit much in the past year two years.  I started a new job that was incredibly time-consuming. Good, but time-consuming.

To be accurate, I do have other projects on my needles. I had a pair of toe-ups confiscated by the Vietnam airport officials. Usually, they just take the needles. This time, they took the socks without even telling me.

I have a pair Mom’s Fixation Socks in Cascade Fixation Solids in color way 5189 on the needles that were going to be a gift, until I realized I’d knit the person a different pair with the same yarn, so those are on hold. I’ll be glad to make them for me instead, but they aren’t urgent.

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I have no idea when I actually started the socks I just finished.  None.  They’ve been on my needles a long time. They were quite far along when I worked on them last summer on the flight to the US.  Then barely touched them. At some point came off the needles and got all tangled up so I ignored them.

Today, while looking for a different WIP, I found them, realized they only needed the cuffs to be done, so I turned on Jane the Virgin, and finished them.  They fit well.  I especially like the gusset and heel flap. That is my favorite type of construction for cuff-down patterns.  They fit well with my high arch.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t found a formula I liked for toe-up socks.

That changed when I found this: Generic, Toe-Up, Slip-Stitch Sock Formula by Sarah Keller.  It is easy to use and makes a great gusset and heel flap.  I used it on this pair and it looks good and fits beautifully.  They are a bit saggy in the photo because I haven’t washed them yet.

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The yarn is a cotton, wool, nylon sock blend, Schoeller+Stahl Fortissima Socka Cotton Color. I don’t enjoy knitting with cotton yarns as much as ones with a higher wool content. However, living in Singapore means a cotton blend is more comfortable.   I would use this yarn again. It is a light fingering.

I also finished a dish cloth, but I left it in the US as it is a Christmas gift.  I used this Keep it Straight-er (Yet) Dishcloth pattern by Deb Buckingham.  The pattern does make a nicely squared dishcloth and it is knobby enough to work well for scrubbing dishes and counters. I have a bunch of skeins of Sugar’n Cream yarn so these will be what I knit at meetings at work.

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I didn’t knit at work last year since I was paddling so hard to keep up. This year, I think I can knit during meetings and it will keep me focused rather than keep me from following the discussion.  That is good progress in two areas.

 

 

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Knitting for Others

The Geri Johnson, the director of our Early Childhood program at school is highly involved with FreeSchools.org, an organization which provides a free, basic education to poor children. Most of their work is with girls. Most of it is in India.  For $25 a year I can fund a full year scholarship for a child. My friends and families know I love to give scholarships in other people’s names as a stocking stuffer at Christmas time.

Geri has visited project schools often.  She mentioned to my friend Maggie how cold it was there in the winter and that the children had no hats or scarves.  Maggie, being Maggie, promptly started knitting hats and scarves for Geri to bring on her next trip.

I have finally joined in.  I dug through my stash. I have lots of sock yarn.  I thought sock yarn would take forever to knit into a hat, and would make such a thin hat that it wouldn’t be very warm.  I decide to experiment with holding two strands of the yarn together. It worked quite well.  I created this hat using the Baby Pixy Hat pattern and some frogged stash yarn.

Baby Pixy hat

I love how stretchy and warm the hat is. Holding the yarn double made for a nicely heathered fabric. Only problem is that the hat is a bit small.  Geri, being Geri was nonplussed.  She said it would fit a younger sib.

I tried the Hurricane Hat pattern for my next hat.  Holding the Araucania Ranco Multy yarn double made for a lovely, dense fabric.  I was very pleased with the yarn, the pattern and the size of the hat. I tried it on a few first grade noggins and it fit well.  The FreeSchools.org children tend to be very petite compared to the students at our school so it should be a good fit. It looks uneven here but when it is blocked it will be awesome.

Hurricane Hat

For the next hat, I used a simple stocking cap pattern.  I can’t remember which one. I used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Mediumweight in the Pink Granite Colorway.  This isn’t the hat, but it is the colorway. I gave the hat to Geri before I snapped a photo. The fabric was dense but the hat wasn’t very stretchy.  I didn’t love the way the colorway was knitting up. Holding the yarn double was making the colorway do weird things. Screenshot_4_27_13_6_33_PM

I had two other hats in progress but last weekend I started this hat because I was going to have a bunch of knitting time but needed it to be mindless knitting at the salon and on the train.  Both of those hats had reasons they weren’t the best choice for that environment.   This new hat is in worsted weight which made it knit up quickly.  The yarn is RichMore Spectre Modem Printed.  It is lovely yarn and the colorway worked well with the Hats of Hope pattern. This is a super pattern. It is dead simple, makes a warm, dense fabric, and his very stretchy.  The kid child who receives this hat will likely lose the hat long before they outgrow it. [Note: the top looks funky in this photo. However, the decreases look fine when the hat is actually on a head.]
Hats of Hope #1I hope to finish one of the other works in progress by Monday so that Geri can take it with her Tuesday night when she flies to India.  If I finish it, you’ll see it here.

A Few Quick FOs

While I was in Bhutan I finished another pair of garter-rib socks.  For such a simple pattern I made an exceptional number of mistakes. Despite that the socks fit fine. The Pagewood Farms Yukon yarn in the Camo colorway was lovely to work with originally, but since I’d previously tried it with two other patterns, it was a bit splitty by now.

Gross National Happiness socks

I have started continuing the slip stitch heel around the heel turn and onto the bottom of the heel for a more cushioned sock. Occassionally I need to insert a short row when I do this to accommodate the slip stitch being shorter than the pattern on the insole.

Gross National Happiness socks

My BroadRipple socks are also done. They are made from Cascade Fixation Spray-Dyed Effect yarn in the Pacific colorway.

In Remembrance: Broadripple in Pacific Colorway

I finished the first pair of  Waving, Not Drowning socks and am working on a second pair.  Much to my surprise, the Lana Grossa Meilenwett Cotton yarn (color 7002, lot 52219) that I thought was a variegated single color has a stripe in it.  I had wanted to make these in a solid color to better show off the pattern. I don’t think these are doing that. They look better in the photo than in real life.

Waving, Not Drowning Again
This seems to be my year for learning how to (or how not to) effectively pair yarns with patterns. I’ve been largely knitting multi-colored colorways into patterns that would look better with a solid yarn.

Christmas is Coming!

I am noticing that without me doing anything to cause a change, my blog template has changed.  It didn’t use to have the cream colored margins. I don’t like them.  If anyone knows how to make them go away, please tell me.

In month and three days I’ll be back home my family! Maybe it is the delight of that which has made me much craftier than usual, making more holiday gifts than I ever have before.

First done was the Good Luck Cowl. The pattern is available for free from DropstitchKnitter.  The yarn is Buckingham, a deliciously soft alpaca/silk mix from Bristol Yarn Gallery yarns.  If I were to make it again with this yarn, I’d go down a needle size since my gauge seems to be getting looser which is scary.

Good Luck Cowl WIP

I love the pattern. It is a fun, interesting knit, so I decide to make another. This time I used the absolutely beautiful Crash Into Ewe yarn with REAL silver that GradSchool Knitter sent to me for winning one of her contests. The photo in no way captures the beautiful color of this yarn. The flecks of silver are subtle but very nice.

Raspberry Sparkle Cowl

The skein was enormous so I should be able to knit another. I wish the yarn was still available. It would make it easier to give the second one away as a gift.

My most ambitious project is the Elm Row Scarf by Anne Hanson. I am finally using some of the JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 4/8 – Cone that was part of a group purchase a few years ago. It is my first lace weight progress. Or rather, it is my first lace weight project on which I’ve experienced much success.  Thus far it is going pretty well but I’m really grateful for stitch markers.

Elm Row Scarf

While working on the cowls I didn’t work much on my socks. However, I’ve been in taxis a bit this past week so I’m working on them again. I am enjoying this Waving, Not Drowning pattern. I’ve decided it does work with this yarn.

Waving, Not Drowning

No current photos of my Origami Sweater.  I worked on it a bunch a few weekends ago when I was in a four-day workshop.  I was really glad no one seemed offended by me knitting.  They shouldn’t. I know that I listen much better when I knit something something simple. Unfortunately, knitting is not yet widely accepted as part of our culture at work, despite my careful attempts to change that.

What are you knitting for the holiday?  Please leave me a comment to let me know.

Summer Projects and New WIPs

Summer back in Minnesota was a soul-satisfying retreat of time with family and friends.  I never fit in as much knitting as I think I will, but I still accomplished quite a bit.

The BIG project this summer was a ten-stitch baby blanket for Kent’s cousin’s baby due in August.

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Ten Stitch Blanket (Ravelry Link)
Plymouth Encore Worsted Colorspun
Colorway: 7722

It is the same pattern I used for the first blanket that I completed.  However, this time I used worsted weight instead of sock weight.  It turned out much better. I was able to finish it in time to send it off the day before I headed back to Singapore.  His cousin was delighted and sent me a note that is on his crib waiting for him to arrive.

Another summer project was to finish my Starry Ribbed Socks.  They are a simple top-down pair of K3,P1 socks.  I ran into a a weird gauge problem around the ankles but a few washes has tightened them up. The colors are untrue in this photo. The sock actually very dark colors with metallic flecks.  I bought it through DNBY because I love Dream in Color’s Smooshy yarn so much. This yarn wasn’t quite as nice– not as smooshy but still a nice sock yarn.

Starry Ribbed Socks

Starry Ribbed Sock
Dream in Color Stardust Experimental
Colorway: Midnight Madness

I continued work on my un-ending Ribbed Lace socks.  I knit a lot with little to show for it.  I had to knit the heel turn three times and it still isn’t right so I’ll try again.  I prefer socks with heel flap and gusset, but turning a heel on a toe up sock isn’t nearly as fun as turning one on a top down sock.  I’ll pick it up again sometime and conquer that heel, but for now I’m enjoying new projects.

First on the needles was a sweater I began last summer.  It is the Origami Pullover.  I haven’t loved any photos I’ve seen of this sweater, but Lila and Claudine’s had a sample of it in their store that made me swoon.  Fit me to a T and was flattering.  It is a truly mindless project since it is knit as two long rectangles in K1, P1.  I have the smaller one done that will become the front of the sweater.  I’ve done about five or six inches of the wider back panel.  It is a good travel project when I have room to carry it.  It is a pattern from Frog Tree and I am using the recommend yarn, Frog Tree Sport Melange Alpaca.

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I cast on a new pair of socks as a travel project for when I don’t have the room to bring the sweater.  I am knitting Violet Green’s Waving, Not Drowning pattern, a title that makes me laugh out loud.   I am using a skein of Cascade Yarns Heritage Paints that I scored from the Bella Lana yarn shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Louisecat25 brought me there because the store is too good to not visit.

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The pattern is easy. It is a four row repeat and rows 1,3 and 4  are stockinette . Row 2 is a feather and fan pattern.  This makes for a great travel sock. I’m knitting them using magic loop on size 00 needles.

I started a holiday gift today as well.  Not sure if it will be done for this coming Christmas but it might.  I am flying to Shanghai for a conference this month, and the flights might be a great time to work on it. It is the Good Luck Cowl by Christianne Gerstner.

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I cast on in the taxi on the way to our September knit out.  I was able to finish the first repeat of the pattern.  It is an easy pattern so hopefully all will go well. It has so far.  I am knitting it magic loop as well on size 3 needles.  I was worried it was too loose but the more experienced knitters said it was fine.

I didn’t intend to only update this blog quarterly, but considering that I don’t spend much time knitting during the school year, I may not write again for a while. Thanks for reading.

Pretty Comfy Socks!

Yay! I just finished kitchenering the toes and weaving in the loose ends.  The pattern is Pretty Comfy knit with two skeins of Cascade Fixation yarn in the 2137 colorway (lot number 227054).  I used all but two golf-ball sized balls of the two skeins.

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My modifications: I knit them two-at-a-time on two circular needles.  I added a heel flap and gusset rather than the short row heel the pattern calls for. I continued the slip stitch onto the bottom of the heel to make them cushy.   Notice the shadow in the top right corner of the photo. Batu was the sock inspector today.

Pretty Comfy Socks

They are a bit large for my size 7.5 feet, but since I tend to machine wash and occassionally machine dry my socks made with Fixation, I know they will shrink a bit.  I also started the toes a bit late. Next time I knit top-down socks I’ll start the toe at the base of my little toe instead of the base of my big toe.

Other knitting progress, my Stary Ribbed socks are waiting for me to have daylight hours in which to turn their heels and pick up their gusset stitches.

My Lacy Ribbed socks are toe-up and they are waiting for me to start the gusset increases. I took them with as traveling socks yesterday while I was at my annual health screening. Big mistake. The silky yarn kept jumping off the needles when I’d set them down.

This is an old picture – they are a few inches longer now but look essentially the same.

Lacy Ribbed Socks

I am realizing that since the yarn is not stretchy and has lovely stitch definition which is wasted on this pattern, I should have done cables or some other more defined stitch. I am also realizing that while this stitch is stretchy, it isn’t going to stay up well. I think I will modify  these  into anklets with a long fold-over cuff so that they are not too slouchy. The lace won’t show very well if the socks slouch. Do you see a better solution?  Please let me know if you do.