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.

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Summer Yarn

Minnesota Yarn Stores

How do I love thee?

Thou art more lovely than a summer day

And more numerous..

We Minnesotans take our summers pretty seriously since they are so short. I am loving summer here. I always forget exactly how lovely summer is. Each week different plants start blooming. Birds are courting and nesting like crazy. Mornings are sweet with bird calls and the smell of peonies.

And equally sweet are the amazing yarn stores here in the Twin Cities. It was such a treat last summer to discover a new yarn store just a few blocks from my home. BeYaGi has beads, yarn and gifts. As I mentioned earlier, they were kind enough to have a sale my first week home. I bought most of my yarn for the upcoming year.

I focused on sock yarns so I can make socks for Kent since he actually needs them.

Tofutsies

Plymouth Rockin' Sox

Tofutsies

Fortissima Socka

I also bought yarn to make a baby sweater for Kate,

Cleckhaton Cocoon

premmie hats for the babies at United Hospital,

Fortissima Socka

and a few gifts, and bit of yarn for me.

Plymouth Yarn Jeannee Sugar'n Cream

Now I need to get it all back to Singapore without spending more than I saved at the sale.

I also visited Borealis Yarns with Louise. They keep expanding their selection, but I was good and just looked.

Finally, I visited Yarnery and only bought a few sets of Hiya Hiya circulars for projects I want to work on now. I forgot all my needles in Singapore.

That is probably it for my yarn store visits this trip. I don’t have much more time in town. I didn’t get to the Sheepy Shop, Depth of Field, Double Ewe, Three Kittens or any of the other yarn delights in town. I keep dreaming of the Singapore Knitters visiting here and touring the yarn stores. That would be dangerously fun.

Early Summer Projects Update

I have been trying to maximize time with my family since I am only home for a short time. On Tuesday I head down to Dallas, Texas to see Kent and his family. Then he and I will head to San Antonio, Texas for NECC, an enormous educational technology conference. 20,000 some people are registered for this year.

On the knitting front, I am having fun. On the flight from Singapore to Tokyo I worked on the forest canopy shawl. It is still very small, but it is making more sense. I love the Dream in Color Smooshy yarn. I’m using Ruby River. Although lots of people in Ravelry have knit it with lace yarn and it looks lovely, the pattern actually calls for yarn the weight of Smooshy. I saw someone who had knit it with this colorway and I liked how it looked. Of course, with my loose gauge, I had to go down a couple needle sizes. I know it is supposed to be lace, but my looked more like a fishing net.

forest canopy shawl

forest canopy shawl

I had lunch with wonderful Louise who patiently helped me understand how I will knit the border if I ever get to that point. Turns out I was viewing the shawl upside down. We newbie knitters never run out of new mistakes to make!

From Tokyo to Minnesota I work on the heel flap and heel turn on Kent’s socks. This is the first time I’ve ever gotten it right when knitting 2 socks on two circular needles. There is a Ravelry group for Antje Gillinghan’s book Knitting Circles Around Socks. In there, she has written an extended explanation of how to pick up the gusset stitches. I had that with me on the plane.

I wasn’t able to follow it exactly because the pattern I was using was not written for knitting both socks at once. However, her directions were so good that I was able to think through what to do. I made one false start and then realized I needed to start on the opposite side of the fabric and add one extra row when I was done so I’d end up on the correct side of the fabric for my directions. As per usual, it took me hours and had to retry a couple parts, but it worked the best it ever has. I think my next pair won’t be any trouble.

I am now done with the gusset decreases and am just working my way down the foot. Am eager to try them on Kent’s feet when I see him on Tuesday. I hope they fit. (Pay no attention to that gusset hole…)

Kent's socks

In honor of Summer of Socks I have cast on a new pair. It is the Chunky, cozy cotton socks in the Knitting Circles Around Socks book. I want them as a pair of house socks. Our marble floors get cold and I had a pair like these long ago. They weren’t hand knit but I wore them out they were so comfortable.

The week I arrived in Minnesota, BeYaGi had a 20% off sale. I was able to get the exact yarn the pattern calls for, and get it at a discount. It is Patagonia Nature Cotton from Araucania. I don’t have the label with me so I can’t tell you the colorway. It is a riot of yellow, golds, greens and dark blues. I can tell that no one who has seen me knitting it particularly likes it, but I love it and since they are for me, that’s all that matters.

Araucania Patagonia Natural Cotton
Since Kent’s socks are being knit on US #0 needles, it is a big kick to be knitting chunky yarn on size 6 needles. They are already a few inches long. It took me many many hours before Kent’s socks were this long. It is a thick/think yarn so it is being very forgiving of gauge.

Chucky cozy cotton socks

And here’s a shot of someone who tried to stow away in Kent’s suitcase. Luckily we found her in Singapore.

Take Me With You!

Socks, Sydney and Shows

Kent and I had the great good fortune to spend a week in Australia. First we went to Cairns and spent two days and one night on a dive boat. We didn’t actually dive; we snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef. It was mind-blowingly amazing. If you ever get the chance, do it. I can recommend Cairns Dive Centre as a good operator.

Next we went to Sydney. Since Quantas doesn’t allow knitting on their planes, I didn’t get any real knitting done until Sydney. One evening there I knit the heel flap and turned the heel. Then I made the mistake of also trying to pick up the gusset stitches. Take my advice and don’t begin this in the wee hours of the morning. When I was done, it looked good, but the working yarn wasn’t where I needed it.

The next day I was so eager to get back to the hotel to work on them, but that wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t get back to them until yesterday, three weeks later.

My first day in Sydney, after we spent the day tramping all over, and before we met Chris Betcher and Linda for dinner, I went to Tapestry Crafts. There I bought this…

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I also indulged in a bit of sock yarn…

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The first two were pretty self-explanatory, but the latter is Araucania sock yarn from Chile
colorway: Ranco multy. Yum!

I also bought two pairs of KnitPicks needles. They are lovely. Unfortunately, I should have checked my needle list in Ravelry. I bought the wrong size!

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As I mentioned above, I’m finally back to working on my socks. After ripping back twice and ending in the same predicament, I got smart and just moved the socks around on the needles until they were the way they were supposed to be (back on socks on one needle, insteps on the other) instead of half of instep and sole on each needle. I may actually be a row off, but I think in the end it won’t matter– at least not to me.

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Most of the gussets look okay. I picked up the extra stitches at the gusset turn and it work most of the time. Only one doesn’t look so good. I redid it a few times, but the fabric isn’t dense enough there. It isn’t a huge problem, but I’m glad these socks aren’t meant as gifts.

Okay, So How Do you Knit a Scarf Side-Ways?

Today I was reading The Yarnery blog and I see this cool scarf.

pattern #126

As I stared at it, I realized that it appears to be knit the long way across. As in, not many rows, but each row is three feet long!

That got me thinking a number of thoughts, such as…

  • What do you knit it on? What can hold that many stitches.
  • Would an alternating knit, purl pattern like that over such a long distance keep the scarf from curling?
  • Would it make my mohair/wool yarn behave?

But mostly, I wanted to know how to knit that many stitches across. If you know how it is done, please tell me. I wish the Yarnery sold that pattern at their new online store; I’d buy it to solve this mystery.

Depth of Field Yarn Shop

Seems so crazy that I am here visiting all these amazing yarn shops when I’m such a newbie knitter. By right, those of you back in Singapore should be the ones here. You’d make much better use of this great opportunity. The best I can do is to continue to shower you with photos of the gorgeous yarns.

Friday, Heather and I went to Depth of Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Scads of delicious yarns.

Depth of Field Depth of Field
Depth of Field Depth of Field
Depth of Field Depth of Field
Depth of Field Depth of Field
Depth of Field Depth of Field

Despite being exposed to all that luscious yarn, I didn’t buy any. They didn’t have anything that’s on the Buy for Singapore list. I did buy some HiyaHiya circular needles. Louise says they are every bit as good as addi and cost about half the price.