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.

 

 

Impressionist Socks

Wow! These Impressionist Socks have taken forever. First, the pattern itself is hugely slow to knit.  The pattern has no rest rows.  The way the stitches line up from one row to the next makes it difficult to execute the many SSKs and the K2togs.  Second, the yarn is a bit splitty. It’s very nice when knit but getting it knit required care.  Finally, I have worked on many, many other projects, first Christmas gifts, then birthday gifts, then hats for students in India, and another pair of socks for myself which are still on the needles.

Impressionist Socks

 

The fussy pattern was worth the effort. I had a suspicion that this yarn would flash and pool. It did but the pattern made it pretty instead of a problem.

The pattern is not very stretchy and I was afraid the tencel yarn would not stay up well.  To solve those problems, I switched to 2 x 2 rib when I reached the ankle. Although the yarn did flash and pool on the legs, the rib made for a good fit and the socks stay up.  I figure not many people will see it under my pant legs so fit was more important.  I made the cuff long enough that I can fold it down and wear the socks as anklets.  That also hides the pooling and flashing. Mission accomplished.

Impressionist Socks

The heels were a bit of a pain to knit. If I knit this pattern again I would do the more traditional type of heel. The heel looks fine now that it’s done, but it didn’t need to be such a bother.

I think the only bad call I made was to continue the pattern for a few rows after the heel.  The socks would have a nicer fit and be more firm if I have just gone into the ribbing at that point.

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Most of my projects lately, not counting the hats, have needed darning or mending as soon as I finish them. These were no exception. I was admiring their loveliness and I folded them down to have a big cuff. I snapped a photo. As I did so I caught some movement. Right before my eyes the socks were turning into a Clapotis as a dropped stitch raced down the leg.

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I had to pick the binding, go back, and fix the mistake. After I had done that, I realized this new binding was too tight.  I picked that out and tried again. Along the way I dropped some more stitches. Eventually I got it all straightened out.  Despite all the drama, the socks are done and very comfortable.

The yarn was a gift from my sister.  She purchased it at Shelley’s Yarn and Fibre Shop in Taylor’s Falls, Minnesota, USA. It is Sexy Socks in the Surfer Girl color way a blend of 50% Merino and 50% tencel. It needs hand washing or gentle machine washing in cold, laying flat to dry.  I will do as I always do. I’ll turn them inside out, put them in a laundry bag, and wash them on cold. After the spin cycle they should be dry enough to hang on the line without stretching.

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.

What’s on my Needles?

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

In honor of the holiday we have two days off of work so here I am.

Longest on my needles are my Waving, Not Drowning socks.  I knit on them for much of our trip to Sri Lanka with Kent’s cousin Beth and her husband John.  We traveled mostly by van so I had lots of good knitting time. No, I didn’t think to take any travel photos with the sock.  In any case, I am in the home stretch and may even finish them this weekend.

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Next up are my new Broadripple socks knit in Cascade Fixation spray-dyed effect in the pacific ocean colorway.  A colorway that is knitting up a bit on the wild side. These are my super simple take along socks.  Despite the pattern only being two rows long, and one row being all knit, I noticed a number of mistakes yesterday in the taxi and had to drop down to fix them. Fortunately that is easily done with this pattern. I wear these colors often so I should get good use out of them.

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As with the Waving, Not Drowning socks I am knitting these two-at-a-time using magic loop. I wish I could decide how long to make them. This yarn shrinks over time.  I thought of swatching first and then washing, but it takes a number of washings for them to shrink and couldn’t be bothered.  On the other hand, if I don’t throw them in the dryer they may not shrink at all.  I just ran my Pretty Comfy socks through the dryer because they were getting too lose.

My newest pair of socks are flying off the needles.  The combination of DK weight yarn and time to knit during a two day PD event was a good one.  The pattern is Lace Wings Fixation Socks by Anna Belinda. As the name suggests, they are knit with Cascade Fixation yarn.  I have found this cotton/elastic yarn really comfortable in steamy Singapore.
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The pattern is only four rows long and two of those rows are knit.  All was well until late last week when I realized that I was on a different row of the pattern from one sock to the other despite knitting them at the same time on two circular needles.  Grrrrr….  I think I have them back on track now. However, the cuff is wider than the rest of the sock.  I guess the lacewing pattern pulls in more than the ribbing.  They fit fine but it looks strange when not on my leg.

Last is the ever aggravating Elm Row Scarf. It was going so well. I was six repeats from the end when I noticed a Big Problem.  I tinked back but must have kept dropping stitched as I went because I kept never ending up on a row that matched the pattern.  Now it is about half as long.  It had been banished from my sight until GetItKnitted fixed it in about ten minutes. She’s my hero!

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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.