Queen of the Stash

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I accidentally organized my stash yesterday.  I went diving into one of the bins for a skien of yarn. Four hours later it was all photographed, entered into Ravelry, and organized by weight into bins and bags.  Pretty impressive for a task I didn’t know needed doing.

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I knew it already but if you scroll through the photos of my entire stash, there is a preponderance of blues, greens and purples because those are MY colors.  There are also a lot of tans and browns, because I often wear tan or khaki pants and needs socks to wear with them.

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I also found some yarns I can destash. I sold a box of cotton yarn at work on Thursday and other people expressed interest, so I’ll put an ad on Marketplace, our mail group at work.

In any case, it will be nice to be able to sort my stash by size or color whenever needed. Should also help when I am home this summer.  Either I will buy skeins to hold with some of my fingering weight yarn, or I’ll buy worsted skeins and sell some of my fingering.  I find that I don’t want to invest the time knitting socks out of 100% merino yarn.  The pairs I have knit out of that have not worn well enough to justify the effort.  However, people knitting scarves, gloves, mittens, etc. could make good use of it.

Of course, as I started to make up the flyer to sell yarn at work, I found I didn’t want to part with it.  Ideas began to niggle about what it could become. However, I will be strong.  It felt good to clean out closets last weekend.  Now that stash is done, it is time to tackle medical claims and filing.  Just the thought of it makes me want to take a nap.

On a different note, isn’t it nice we purchased an ottoman for our cat?

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She was a bit annoyed when I covered it with laptop and yarn last night while I organized the stash.

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Frogs, FOs and Yarn

I just returned from a quick trip to the US.  On the long flight there, I ran out of yarn at the start of the 13 hour flight!  The skein looked so full but it was deceiving me.  As a result, I was left with 2 rows to complete on my shawl.  Fortunately, BeYaGi had another skein from the same dye lot.  Now all I need to do is wash and block it. I’ll be glad of my blocking wires on this one.

Sumac Leaf Shawl

I learned a bunch doing this shawl. It is a great first shawl project. Now maybe I am ready to tackle a lace weight shawl in my Zephyr wool/silk laceweight yarn. I have it in many colors but haven’t knit anything out of it.

Lacy Ribbed Socks

I made progress on my first pair of toe up socks.  I stopped working on them because I hadn’t brought the pattern with me and I will soon need to start the gusset. Louise says she tells her students to start the gusset when they are even with the ankle bone.  That is helpful because it says to knit to 3 inches from end of foot, but that wasn’t looking correct.

I started a baby blanket. It was a nice pattern I found online.  I’m not certain about the  yarn. It is hand washable.  Not sure I want to give a baby something that has to be hand washed, especially since I’m not knitting an heirloom pattern.  However, I think the color will look good since it would look good on either of her parents.

On my flight home, I frogged it.  The pattern wasn’t right for the needle size. Since that was the only needle I had with me, I switched patterns so I’d have something to work on during the long flights back to Singapore.  I am now knitting a free pattern from Lion Brand. It is the Baby Love Diagonal Baby Blanket.  Basically, it is a giant dish cloth.

Baby Love Diagonal Baby Blanket

I am pleased so far, but wish my gauge were more even since cotton isn’t nearly as forgiving about that as wool is.  Had to rip back about 15 rows to fix mistakes. I kept falling asleep and as I’d doze off, I’d split a stitch or make the gauge wonky.

While I was home, I was finally able to see the lovely Dream in Color yarn I had ordered through DNBY.  They sell discontinued yarns at good prices. This is Dream in Colors Stardust line. It was an experiment on their part to make a yarn with a bit of sparkle.  In the correct light you can see the sparkles. Otherwise you can’t which is why this experimental yarn was discontinued before making it into stores.  Except for the black one, all of these yarns look lighter in the photos than in real life. Without the flash they didn’t look like anything and with the flash the colors are too light.  Oh well.

Coal Dust.
Dream in Color Experimentals Stardust

Persimmon
Dream in Color Experimentals Stardust

Marooned
Dream in Color Experimentals Stardust

Midnight Madness
Dream in Color Experimentals Stardust

I picked up three skeins of Cascade Fixation to make baby booties.
Cascade Fixation Cascade Fixation Cascade Fixation

I also scored this lovely yarn. I think it is Pagewood Farm Denali Hand Dyed in the Mardi Gras colorway.  Adrienne had purchased it for herself and decided she wouldn’t use it.
Pagewood Farms?

Even though it was after 12:30 am when I reached home, the furkids were there to greet me.  Here is Kapas doing a happy dance and rubbing against my backpack.

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Toe Up

Last night I broke the Panda Silk out of stash and started my first pair of toe up socks.

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First I need to learn Judy’s Magic Cast-On.  I watched the Cat Bordhi’s  video on YouTube to learn how. Soon there was a big needle bird flapping across my lap and biting the vine. Then their was a strange tick-tock clock helping me remember the sequence for wrapping the stitches. (Watch the video and all will be explained.)

I wanted to knit the socks in Magic Loop style, but I figured for my first attempt at the cast on I should at least start the socks separately.  From my first attempt, this cast on worked well.  However, then I couldn’t quite figure out how to get both socks onto the one long needle, so I frogged and started again on the magic loop needle.  That went well and moved along quickly until I realized that I had only cast on 8 stitches per sock instead of 16.  It looked like I was knitting little toy bear ears.  I frogged and started again.

The next attempt was fraught with cat interruptions. Miss Kapas decided she really needed to be pet a whole bunch right then.  I must have picked the socks up backwards because soon I  had a purl row on both sides of the sock.  I frogged again.

My next attempt was good but now it was late at night.  This morning I went back to work on them and finished the toes.  I have to say it is much nicer to cast on 16 stitches per sock instead of the usual 64.  And the magic cast on looks nicer than my Kitchener stitch usually does even though they should look the same.

Next time I knit, I’ll start the pattern. It is the Ribbed Lace sock from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. I chose it for a number of reasons.

  1. It is written as a toe up pattern.
  2. It has a regular toe, not a short row one.
  3. It has a heel flap.
  4. It has a flap and gusset in the “correct” place. Some toe up socks have it in a place that doesn’t seem as comfortable.
  5. It makes a very stretchy fabric to compensate for the lack of memory in the Panda Silk yarn.

I figured that for my first toe up attempt, I wanted a pattern that had it all written out.  I know it isn’t difficult to substitute a different type of toe or heel, but I wanted my first attempt to be one where I can follow along without making any changes.

I’m knitting the socks on 40″ size #00 needles.  The yarn is quite fine for fingering weight.

Have you knit with Panda Silk?  How did it hold up?  If you made socks, did they stay up?

Gratuitous Pictures of Stash

Long time without an update and not much to report.  I finished my mother’s diagonal rib socks in the gorgeous Smooshy yarn. I finished them the day before I left Minnesota to return to Singapore.  I’ll try to get a photo of them when I am home for Christmas.

I frogged my Vog On socks. I like them but the pattern was lost in the dark, busy yarn so I’ll save that pattern for a different yarn.

I have one more pattern repeat and then the easy edge on my Sumac Leaf Shawl.  I won’t repost it since it looks remarkably a lot like it did before, only bigger.

My Monkey socks are slowly growing. Not much time to knit these first weeks of school.  I’ve done most of it while waiting at the vet with a sick cat who is happily feeling better now.

Since I haven’t WIP or FO photos for you, I’ll show you some of my new stash instead.

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How about this Heritage Hand Painted from Cascade?

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This one is new to me. It is Soxx Appeal from Knit One Crochet Too. It is a cotton/elastic blend.  It should be comfortable here in Singapore.

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Here is my first Panda Silk. I’ve heard from Louisecat that it doesn’t have much memory so I’ll need to knit it into a ribbed pattern.

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Louisecat also told me she likes how this yarn knits up into socks. I, of course, loved the blues and greens.

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I’m missing some of this. I should have two balls of it so I can hold it double. I’m hoping for a sport weight since it is such a terribly thin fingering weight. It feels like it will make a nice fabric. It has bamboo in it.

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And finally, Smooshy. It’s the In Vino Veritas colorway.

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There. I hope you enjoyed that bit of stash diving.
What’s new in your stash?

FOs and WIPs

The week after school let out, Kent and I went to Ubud, Bali. We stayed at Ketut’s Place. Our room had a huge lovely balcony that reached out over a steep ravine and a rushing river. I spent each morning out there knitting. It was bliss.

Early morning on our balcony

On that balcony, I finished my purple Lacy Mock Cable socks.

Lacy Mock Cable socks in Cherry Tree Hill
They are knit in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids in the amethyst colorway. I made them longer than usual because instead of knitting a gauge swatch, I just jumped in.
Lacy Mock Cable Socks

After a few inches I decided I wanted to go down a needle size but rather than frog it, I decided to let the bigger needle part act as shaping. The socks fit really well. In part that is because I finally realized that if I pick up extra gusset stitches, the foot part will be too loose. It also helped that this stitch pattern is stretchy. It made a good traveling sock

I also finished my Pretty Comfy socks.

Pretty Comfy
The yarn is Cascade Fixation. I don’t remember which colorway, but I like it.

I tried a rounded toe but my formula wasn’t right and after 3 tries I gave up and knit my standard wedge toe. Thanks to the way the pattern dissolves into the stockinette toes, it makes a pretty toes. I tried three times to kitchner the toes closed and couldn’t do it so I gave up. The next day, I finished both toes in 15 minutes. Go figure.

As on the Lacy Mock Cable socks, my only mods were to use a heel-flap instead of a short row heel. I know they aren’t as pretty but they fit so well and are so comfortable.

Pretty Comfy

In any case, these turned out lovely and I may have to make a pair for me.

On that same day, I cast on for Cookie A.’s Monkey.

Monkeys by Cookie A

I’m using my Pagewood Farms Yukon which is a merino, bamboo, nylon mixtures. It feels buttery. I wanted to cast on before I was on the plane back to Singapore.

I’m not as far as I expected to be because although I brought them on the long flight to the US, I actually slept a bit which is rare for me on flights. As a result, I’m only this far.

I did bring them to run errands, and made lots of mistakes because I don’t know the pattern well enough, so I cast on for a pair of ‘Vog on socks using Plymouth Happy Feet yarn. (Color is more accurate in first photo.)

Vog on

'Vog on

I’m not certain this was a good call for this yarn. I’d thought the yarn was solid enough, but between the variegation and the darkness of the color, the pattern is being lost, and although it is a simple pattern, I have to look at it so it isn’t good when I am with other people.

Then I decided to knit my mom a pair of socks. She picked out a truly lovely yarn. It is Dream in Color Smooshy in the Bermuda Teal colorway.

Diagonal Rib Sock

I’m using Ann Budd’s Diagonal Ribbed sock pattern. It is an easy to memorize pattern but I also need to watch the stitches I’m knitting. It is a real bugger to rip out due to the diagonal stitches.

And as long as I’m knitting patterns that require me to watch what I’m knitting, I cast on for the Sumac Leaf Shawl.

Sumac Shawl

It is a worsted weight shawl and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m using Lamb’s Pride worsted. I just started the fourth repeat.

Sumac Shawl

It is beyond good to be home visiting my family. I haven’t seen any friends yet. I need to rectify that next week. The only bad part about being here is being away from the cats. Here is Kapas in her favorite place for an evening nap.

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That cubby is on the bottom shelf of our bookcase. That puts her near to us on the sofa.

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Update on Blue Projects

Before I went to New Zealand in December I cast on a pair of socks but then ended up knitting other projects so I’m finally getting to these now.

The yarn was a birthday gift from my sister. It is a Regia wool yarn. The colorway was designed by Kaffe Fasset. I was of two minds about it before this project. I liked all the colors but one, but I was thinking it would make rather bold socks. I wasn’t sure I wanted bold socks.

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I decided I did not want to knit them plain, but I figured most patterns would be obscured by the stripes.  I spent a long time on Ravelry trying to find the right pattern. I considered many different patterns from Jaywalker to Ann Budd’s chevron pattern, to Charlene Schurch’s chevron pattern, to someone else’s chevron. However, so many of those patterns had two strikes again them for me. First, they required some form of knitting three stitches together. That would be a challenge since I tend to knit tight. (How can I have a loose gauge and knit tightly? That mystifies me.) Second, chevron patterns tend to have very little stretch; many knitters on Ravelry complained that they couldn’t get the socks over their heels.

Therefore, I was delighted to find the Groovy Socks pattern by Sock Pixie. It is a more subtle than many of the chevron patterns and it is more stretchy.  It is only a two row repeat, with one row being stockinette, so I hoped  I could travel with it as long as I used stitch markers.

It is a top down pattern and I am halfway down the leg.  Although I keep making mistakes, the pattern is easy and fun.  Like so many lace patterns, it seems to race along.  To my delight, the waves produced by the pattern are giving the stripes  a watercolored or Impressionistic affect.  It is soft and rich.  I am enchanted.  And it is a lace pattern that looks even better on than off; I often find that patterns I like on the needle don’t look as nice on the foot. (I’ll post a more current photo when I get home. This early shot doesn’t show the effects.)

Groovy Socks in Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett

To add to my delight, I’ve been able to knit much more this week than usual.  On Wednesday I was at a meeting all day and it wasn’t my turn to take minutes.  It was a discussion-type of meeting and knitting during it helped me keep focused.  I was an active participant throughout.  Thursday afternoon I flew out to Ho Chi Minh City for a two day workshop, so I was able to do lots of travel knitting.  Then today (and hopefully tomorrow) I was able to knit during the lecture portions of the workshop. Sunday, I will travel knit myself home.

On other fronts, I knit three premmie caps. I’m trying to find a local premmie ward that will take them.

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I am working down the foot on my Pretty Comfy socks. They are still a very fun knit.

Pretty Comfy in Fixation

Pretty Comfy in Fixation

Life is Good.

Help! Everything I’m Knitting is Blue!

Okay, at the moment there are a number of strong trends in my knitting.

  1. I keep having to restart projects because they aren’t fitting.
  2. I keep frogging projects because I decide they won’t work as started.
  3. I’m becoming a sockhead.
  4. Everything I’m knitting is blue.

I’m not quite sure how that last list item came to be, but I have plenty of ideas on the first three.

Yes. I am not knitting gauge swatches. Knitting a gauge swatch seems a lot like actually knitting the sock, so I’d rather just jump in, especially since I can so easily try the socks on as I knit them.

I extended this philosophy to knitting a pair of hand warmers and found a flaw in my thinking.  I started knitting the Malabrigo Hand Thingies and first the fabric seemed too loose so I went down a needle size. Then I went down another needle size because they seemed so loose and I knew I would hate wearing them if the cuffs weren’t snug.

Malabrigo Hand Thingies

However, the cuffs are knit in a purl two rows, knit 3 rows type of pattern and that does not behave like ribbing or stockinette.  As I knit farther on, the cuffs seemed to do a magic shrinking trick and soon I could barely pull them on. So I frogged and started again on bigger needles. At least  I’ve learned a bunch and I’m getting much faster at the pattern. These are for my trip to New Zealand. I know it is summer there, but I’ve got thin, tropical blood now and they’ve been having temps in the 40’s and 50’s.  That is going to feel cold to me and I want to knit in the car.

Snow Drop Lace Scarf

Another  project that I frogged project was this lovely Snow Drop Lace scarf. I was knitting really well; my best lace so far. The Dream in Color yarn was so lovely that every time I’d catch sight of it I wanted to drop everything and knit it. I like the pattern although I suspect it will be pretty dull by repeat 50. So why frog it? I decided the pattern would look better in lace weight yarn. The Smooshy is pretty thick so it is a bit bulky for the pattern. I can block it a bunch when I’m done, but why not use such smooshy yarn for socks as it was intended?

And so my another of my WIPs is a pair of Garter Rib socks for me. I know. I seem obsessed with this pattern. I’m knitting this pair for me in hand painted yarn that doesn’t stripe because I’m doing some research knitting.

Smooshy Garter Rib Socks

I’m trying to devise a more cushioned sole because I’ve been displeased with the thin soles on the two pairs I made for Kent. Granted, those were not all wool. They were blended with bamboo which made them much less sproingy. However, my plan, thanks to a suggestion in Ravelry by ladiosaRosa, is to hold two strands together for the sole, and carry that strand over the instep. Then, when the sock is done, I cut those instep strands, leaving a long enough tail that they won’t pull through.

I had though of doing heel stitch on the sole, but kind Ravelers pointed out that heel stitch is shorter than stockinette or garter rib, so I’d need to work in short rows to make the sole as long as the instep. I also wondered how it would feel to walk on. This method will waste yarn, but I’m going to give it a try anyway. Smooshy comes in a generous hank so I should have plenty of yarn. Do you think it will work?

Yet another frogged project was the Fixation on Lace socks.  They were also turning out fine after a few false starts and the insertion of stitch markers after each repeat.  I love how the pattern looks in the book, but as I started looking up FOs of it in Ravelry, I made the disheartening discovery that I don’t actually like how it looks when people wear it.

That yarn is now in the process of becoming a pair of Pretty Comfy socks.  I just finished the cuff last night and started the lace, but I frogged the lace today because I realized that the way I was intepretting the pattern to be knit two at a time on two cirucular needles rather than one at a time on DPNs, was flawed.  Luckily I was only a few rows in when I realized my bad reasoning, so not much is lost.

Pretty Comfy

Notice the lovely stitch markers? They are from Ayumi. I’m pretty sure she made them!  Amazing.

Why so many socks on my needles? The usual reasons…

  • They are portable.
  • They are useful, even here in Singapore.
  • They don’t require much yarn.
  • I have quite a bit of sock yarn in  my stash.
  • I’m getting better at them and learning lots which is gratifying.

Are those good enough reasons to become a sockhead?

I can’t explain the last item. I don’t quite know how I ended up with all WIPs being blue.  I have plenty of other colors in my stash.  Any suggestions? Should I seek medical help?