Thursday, September 19, 2013

Color Theory

Yesterday I started on the second pair of mittens I'm making for my Canadian friend. I CO for a pair of stripey mittens, and actually finished the first mitten only a few hours later. I was very excited to take a picture and show off the pretty purple, blue and neutral color stripes until I saw the picture.
I swear that they aren't this ugly in person. However, that hasn't stopped me from continuing to look at this picture and think about ripping it all apart.
Color theory in any kind of art has always interested me. I spend a HUGE amount of time thinking about color combinations, colors on skin tones, complimentary colors, etc. This one fell short though. I think I've figured out that the purple in this mitten is too 'warm' for the stripes, and as a result looks.. just.. ugh. :( It's going in time out for now, while I think about it.

In a more positive color outcome, I finally have a picture of my finished rainbow socks to share:
I love them. The yarn is self striping from Kroy, and as you can see (if you look closely) there was a problem with the striping. That's because there were several knots in each of the skeins I used. If I was gifting these socks, I would have not been happy about the sudden interruptions in color, but as they are for me, I don't really care that much.
Kroy yarn is not the softest, it's not merino or anything, but it wears hard and I can see myself wearing these rainbow socks for years to come.

I also finished up my Spruce Tree mittens that I started only a week or two ago and mentioned in the last entry. I love the color of these mittens, and love the end result. The pattern was bloated and semi-confusing, but not so much that I couldn't get through it, and hey, it was free so I can't complain too much.
Here is my FO pic, unblocked, so they're a little wonky yet. Everything will be going in a bath this weekend.
These were knit in KP's Wool of the Andes "Spruce", which I thought to be quite fitting.

Adding the socks and Spruce mitts to my yearly yarn/knit totals, I'm four yards away from breaking 3000 yards for the year, which is very exciting! I've already beat my knit totals for 2010 and 2011, and should easily beat my 2012 totals as well since I'm only ~600 yards away, with 3.5 months to go. Not sure what's up next, maybe finishing my Octopus..?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fall has Arrived

Fall is here. We're under a flood watch, here in Seattle, for the next 48 hours, as we're expecting about 4 inches of rain. Yech. I already miss the summer, but I guess the silver lining is that I get to wear lots of knits!
Speaking of knitting; I try not to make many knitting goals. Knitting is fun, knitting is relaxing, knitting is productive, but knitting should never be stressful, and I've been stopping myself from the habit of forcing myself to knit when I don't want to, or placing a lot of guidelines around it. It stresses me out, I feel behind, it's just no good. That being said, I made a knitting goal this year of knitting all year. Every year since I've been knitting, I quit during the summer. It's too warm, I don't have the same amount of downtime, there are outings and visitors, etc, lots of excuses. This year, I tried to keep a small project in my project bag at all times, even if I wasn't knitting a lot, knitting a little is still a great step.

So what did I knit this summer? Well, since the last entry I finished the clownbarf socks I was working on, or rather I finished one.. and then frogged it.
In my last blog entry I noted that the left leaning ribbing didn't look right, and sure enough, I was doing it wrong. I figured it out about halfway through the sock, and the bottom half looked good, but overall the sock was just wrong. It was too tight, too short, the toe ended up wonky, the first half of the sock pattern was messed up.. so it got frogged. That being said, it was a learning experience and I'm glad I forced myself to complete at least the first sock.

Immediately after ripping it apart, I decided that the yarn wouldn't defeat me, so I started another octopus with the same clownbarf yarn. It's being knit on tiny size 0 metal needles, so after a leg or two, I have to put it down due to hand cramping. This is my progress so far, with half the legs done:

While procrastinating knitting the tiny tiny octopus I made another Hat for Eudora, but this time for Dixon, who fell in love with the first one I made. I made this one from the same yarn I made his gloves in (also featured in the picture below).
It's weird to see him smoking. Since this picture, he quit smoking. Anyway! I used some really old stash on this, the main blue yarn is something I traded for back in 2008 (from New Zealand!). Inside, it has an integrated brim that was knit using a hand dyed yarn someone made for me back in 2009. Get ready for a low quality picture:
Note the brim. Anyway, he loves the hat, and has actually started wearing it now that it's not hot out anymore. I'm waiting for the real cold before I wear my baby alpaca Eudora hat, because that thing is going to be toasty.

After I ripped up the clownbarf socks, I wanted to start another pair, as those were supposed to be for me. I decided summer knitting doesn't need to be so complicated, so I CO a pair of vanilla socks in a terrific rainbow self-striping yarn that I traded for last year. This WIP picture is old, because these babies are actually 20 minutes from being done (just need to sew ends in and graft the toes).
Once I have these finished up and blocked, I'll get a better picture and recap the yarn and pattern. It's funny, most of my sock stash is self striping or hand dyed, but I find myself really gravitating toward solids or semi-solids the last year. Goes to the point of not having a large stash, as your interests are always changing. For now, I think whipping out a few pair of vanilla socks with any of my fabulous self-striping yarn is a good idea.

I CO a pair of mittens last night as well, the Spruce Tree Mittens. I decided to make two pair of mittens for my friend and her daughter that live in Canada. It's cold up there! Since I only CO last night, there are no pictures yet, but I'm already through the ribbing of glove #1 (which is 3" long), and finished with the first few gusset increases. This pattern allegedly has an "interesting" increase section, so I'm looking forward to completing these mitts. I'd like to get these mitts and the rainbow socks and the octopus all finished up over the next few weeks, and I think that's realistic.

Summer knitting is a good thing, and something I'm going to push myself to do next year as well. It doesn't need to be a lot, just a continuation of skills/production. This summer, when I normally would not be knitting, I completed 1.5 toys, 3 hats, a cowl, and ~2 pair of socks. That's awesome! Not a ton of yardage, only ~1200 yards, but lots of FOs when there wouldn't normally be FOs. Now, to ramp that into some serious Fall/Winter/Spring knitting... ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Knitting

Summer knitting is slow. Nothing new. I've been grinding away on some socks, and am about halfway through the foot on sock #1, but haven't taken an new WIP picture lately. Here is the last one from about a week ago:
It's the Diagonal Cross Rib Socks pattern from Ann Budd (out of the book "Favorite Socks"). I'm not loving it so far, honestly, and I can't figure out if I'm just doing it wrong? Or if blocking will help? But the stitches don't seem.. right. They are supposed to be a left leaning rib, and while the pattern staggers to the left, the stitches actually face to the right, so it just looks mehhh.. and as a result I'm not super excited to knit them. I don't think there's a strong chance I'll get the pair done this month, but that's okay.
That being said, I am finally using some Knit Picks sock yarn I ordered way back in 2008 and it's sooooo cushy and nice (thanks Merino!), but also very durable feeling. I've got this same yarn in 3-4 other colorways so I think I'm glad I like it! LOL

I also realized that I never shared a picture of the last pair of socks I finished. I shared a WIP pic a few months ago, but I hand over-dyed the yarn and then improvised a cute simple pattern, for my friend Janice's birthday (which is this weekend!). I really loved the end result, and I hope she does too.
When finished I had about 8 yards left, but between this and the pair of socks I made for Chantelle last year (see blog post here), I used up the rest of my JL Vinca stash. I actually had four more skeins of this (hello, hoarding!), but traded it for some cotton yarn that I'll actually use.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Blog Layout Update

Taking a break from the norm to say that I finally updated the blog with a new layout schema and added some useful sidebar content. I don't think I've updated the look of this since I started it years ago, so it was high time.

I'm digging the new look. Hope the few of you that read this also like the changes! :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jane Hat & Other New FOs

The last few weeks have been full of FOs! In fact, in June I finished four different projects (so far), which is pretty decent for summertime knitting. Lets get to the show off part..

First up we have the WIP from last entry, my Jane hat. Made with Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (which is so comfy), I finished this up in a knitting sprint over the weekend. I followed the pattern pretty closely, my only real deviations were waiting until the end to sew the brim together and adding a few extra rows so it would be super slouchy.
I've been wearing it nearly every single day since I finished it, it's my new favorite hat. I will absolutely be making another one, it was a great pattern and an even better FO. I'm glad I added the extra repeats (I think I did 2 full extra repeats), as its real slouchy and I can even wear it when my hair is in a ponytail. Niiiiice.

Up next: a Cherry Garcia that I named my Puppy Day Cowl Remix. This one has history. I first knit my Cherry Garcia named the Puppy Day Cowl back in January of 2009, with a skein of beautiful Manos Classica Wool. However, the yarn and the needles used were a little under gauge so the resulting cowl was a bit on the tight side. I wore it a bunch anyway, but after awhile decided to stop wearing it because it just wasn't very comfortable. A few months ago I decided to frog the years-old FO and start again, so I did, and here is the result:
I used the same yarn and same needles, but modded the pattern to add a full extra repeat, so instead of CO 80 st, I CO 100 st. It's definitely more comfortable this time around, and I used much more yarn than the first time. It still needs a bath/blocking, so sorry for the ugly picture. I'm excited to wear it this fall! :)

The next thing I worked on was A Hat For Eudora, which is an Alex Tinsley pattern. She is my new favorite designer, and I don't dislike really anything that she comes up with. Luckily, she's coming out with a book soon (!!) which I'm definitely going to pick up. This was the first thing I actually knit of hers, but I have many of her hat patterns already in my library.

Not only was this a great pattern in general, but it was my first time doing both welts and a provisional cast on. Both were fairly simple concepts and it didn't take long for me to catch on. My favorite thing about this hat is the integrated contrast hem/brim. It's so beautiful and special. The hat is made with Plymouth Baby Alpaca Worsted, left overs from "The Warmest Mittens" I made a few years ago (note: the first time I wore those mittens, I lost them on the damn bus). It's heavenly soft and warm and absolutely cannot be worn in the summertime, so I'm looking forward to this Fall. My boyfriend also loved this pattern and this FO, so I might make him one at some point.

With all of these new FOs, so far in 2013 I’ve used 2465 yards of yarn! Last year I used 3634 total, and I'm at 2/3 of that and we're only halfway through the year. I'm hoping to knit a good chunk of my stash this year, even at my slow pace. Last night I CO for a new pair of socks though, and the weather is supposed to turn this weekend to 80s (hello, Summer!), so I don't expect much yardage out of the next month or two. We'll see. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Meet Sir Octavio Inkwell, Esquire

Please meet my newest FO: Sir Octavio Inkwell, Esquire.
I finished him the day I wrote my last blog post (he was mostly done at that point). I had to try out a few different yarns for the hat, but decided on this creamy-white KP Wool of the Andes that has been in my stash forever. The body of the octopus is made with Cascade 220. The black trim is Berocco Ultra Alpaca, leftovers from a linen stitch scarf I made 2 years ago. I love him, and right now he's sitting at my desk at work, hanging out.
I did buy 3 more mustache buttons (one large, two small), so I'll be making a few more of him in the future, but I needed a break from all that leg knitting.

After I finished him, I finished the first sock I was working on (see last post), as it only needed the toes sewn together. Then started on sock 2, which right now is also languishing because only the toe decreases are left. I need to just sit down and finish that, and I'm thinking I'll do that this weekend. I will definitely have enough yarn to finish, but I'm thinking I'll probably only have 5-10 yards extra after all is said and done. We'll see!

In the meantime, while I ignore the last two inches of my socks, I've been knitting a Jane hat. It's coming along pretty quickly, as I'm trying to complete a repeat every night (I don't have much knitting time during weekdays, maybe only 30-60 minutes). Last night I finished up body repeat #5 and started working on #6. If I go on a knitting binge, I should be able to finish this in the next few days, but I'm not in a hurry.
Here is a WIP pic from yesterday. I'm knitting it from some Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I've had in my stash for a long ass time (4-5 years I think?). Here is the best part, I have four skeins of this stuff, in two different colors, and I've never even used it! I've been hoarding it (albeit, a small hoard), but never even bothered to test it out and see if I liked it or not.
When I discovered Ravelry back in 2008 and realized just how many different yarns there were out there, I went a little crazy. I wanted to try ALL THE THINGS at once, which led to a huge increase in stash in a very short period of time. I knew I didn't "need" all this yarn, but despite knitting for many years, I was inexperienced with all this new and beautiful yarn and really wanted to test it all out. Now I'm finally getting through a lot of it, and finding that while I do love a lot of it, there is a large chunk of my stash that I just don't like or will never use. I've tried to be really honest with myself about it, to marginal success, but have been able to part with a lot of stuff recently. The more frustrating part of this, though, is realizing that I have so much more to go through before I will allow myself to buy new yarn. First world problems, right?
Anyway, back to the Jane hat. I'm loving the pattern so far, so we'll see how it turns out. If I like the end result, I might make another for one of my friends (they all love slouchy hats), but maybe not.. as I found another really pretty Jane Richmond pattern recently. Hmmm...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Toy Knitting MOJO!

I always lose my knitting mojo when the weather gets nice. Sure, I may still knit here and there, but the days of hunkering down with some tea and knitting are gone. That being said, I'm trying to curb that from happening this year, as I've got a lot of stash to get through. So I decided to go out on a limb and knit my very first toy. It's the Dandy Sir Cephalopod pattern, and it's been keeping me busy! I'm almost done (probably will finish up tonight, actually), but it's been a lot of fun. No pictures yet, as it's all just kind of parts and pieces until he's finished. I got my mustache buttons in the mail yesterday, and I had to RE-ORDER stupid safety eyes because I lost my last pack somewhere in my craft room.
The other thing I've been working on lately is a pair of hand dyed socks for my friend Janice's birthday. I started these at the beginning of April and have the first sock finished. Haven't started the second sock, but my deadline is end of June, as her birthday is the beginning of July. Here is an in progress pic from a month ago:
They're kind of ugly, but I love it, and I think she will as well. Knitting them to fit a size US 8 women's. I've totally lost my sock mojo, so I need to focus and force myself to get through the second sock.
Now, onto a few FO pictures. First up, another mitered hanging towel AND a fish tawashi, knit for my childhood friend that I traded crafts with (she did an AMAZING cross stitch for me). These mitered towels are really easy to make and only take about 6-8 hours to finish. The tawashi was new for me, but fun and simple as well.
And now.. for something I'm really excited and proud to show.. my finished Multnomah! I posted a WIP pic in my last entry, but finished it up mid-April and wow. So exciting. So beautiful. My first me-shawl!
I learned so much making this shawl. I learned about lace pattern knitting, about the importance of accuracy, about bind off edges, about my own personal tastes, etc. It looks a little wonky in this picture, because it's on the grass, but it's stellar in person. I ended up with 11 repeats of the F&F, and after the BO, only had a few yards left of yarn.
The color repeats of the Noro are just so gorgeous. Surprisingly, this was my first time working with Noro Kureyon Sock, despite me hoarding like 4-5 more skeins of it over the years. I will definitely use it again, but I think in the future I'll combine it with another yarn to get more yardage out of it. Apparently 460ish yards isn't enough yardage, as I feel it's a little small. Perfect for a shawlette/scarflette, but it barely stays if I wrap it around my shoulders. I am considering options for my next shawl, which I probably won't start until the Fall.

Well that's it for now! Hopefully I'll have some more FO pictures to share in the next few weeks, as I finish up my octopus toy and those socks. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Progress & FO Pics!

I've been knitting pretty regularly lately, and it feels good. I'm about halfway through my current project, and already have the next one lined up (whenever I get there). Anyway, I wanted to show off a few FO and a pic of my latest WIP.

First up, my rainbow Chroma socks made for the BF. I loved knitting these, as Chroma is easy to work with and very, very soft. But I'm less than happy with the yarn as a FO. It felted on the very first wear, and has continued to felt with every wear since then. I guess that's what I get for knitting socks in a single ply, but I'm confused by Chroma's 25% nylon content (confused because, WHERE IS IT?). Oh well, he loves these socks and still will wear them, felted or no.
  Next up, a scarf that I knit to trade with another crafty friend for a cross stitch. This was made from an acrylic that I've had lying around for several years, and I used almost every last inch of two full skeins when all was said and done. This is a big scarf, very wide, very thick, very snuggly. I hope she likes it.
Here is a random FO I started and finished while waiting for some new needles to arrive (so I could start my shawl). Made from some random cotton I had in the stash. The top bit is double stranded with the mauve color and the last bits of a multi color I had from a previous dishcloth project. This will be a gift for someone, but I still need to add the button..

And last but not least, my WIP. I'm finally making a shawl for me! It's Multnomah in Noro Sock (colorway S40, I believe?), and this is a picture I took this weekend of it. More progress has been made, since then, and now I'm up to the switch in the pattern where I'll start feather and fan until the yarn runs out. Going to try for 12 repeats, but we'll see what I get out of it. I'm very excited about this one, and cannot wait until it's finished.

Monday, March 04, 2013

February Update and WIP Pics

For the first half of February, I was a knitting machine. I nearly finished two projects in the first few weeks, and then.. the knitting slowed down, and February's total yards knit equal zero. Technically (since I don't count yards until I have a FO). That being said, I'm about 10% away from finishing a scarf that will give me ~300 yards, and one toe section away from a pair of socks being done as well (another ~300 yards or so, will have to weigh to get exact). So let me share pictures:

Black rainbow socks being knit in KP's Chroma (black and lollipop colorways), for Dixon.
And a scarf in Lion's Jiffy solid (in peacock colorway) for Magen. We are trading crafts, and in return for this giant scarf, I'm getting a cross stitch. Please note, this picture was taken awhile ago, as I don't have any good recent ones. It's already about 5-6 feet long, and I have another 1/4 of the skein to go.

It's my birthday this week (on Friday) and my plans to go out of town got cancelled, so I'm going to probably spend most of the weekend knitting, cleaning around the house, and maybe doing some yard work. Fingers crossed I get some of my knitting mojo back and can finish up these two projects and move onto the next thing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Monkey FO

Let me excitedly proclaim, I finally got some knitting done!!
I really pushed myself to get some knitting done this last weekend, and ended up knitting the entire gusset, foot, and toes on sock #2. I was very concerned that I was going to run out of yarn and modified the pattern before starting, to make sure I wouldn't run out. I finished sock #2 with about 5-6 yards left, so it worked out perfectly.
My apologies for the crappy pictures, but I was so excited I didn't wash/block them yet. I will be taking some better ones this weekend after they go through a wash.

I have now started on an improvised vanilla-ish sock pattern that I'm calling Black Rainbow Stripe Socks, made from KP Chroma black and lollipop yarn. This first pair is going to be for Dixon, but I will have enough left over to make another pair for myself I believe.
It's weird.. I've been knitting nothing but socks for about two months now (two pair of baby socks, a 4-sock set of cat socks, thick boot socks for Julie, my monkeys, and now the black rainbow socks), and I kind of just want to keep knitting them forever. I know this feeling will wear off eventually, but I'm digging it right now. Maybe 2013 is the year of the sock, god knows I've got enough yarn for that to happen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Got the Blehs..

I haven't knit in awhile. A week, maybe two weeks. I'm still struggling with getting over my illness and most of my 'down time' is spent trying to nap or under the influence of cold medication so I'm not entirely miserable. It's frustrating, because I dislike being so idle, but I'm going to force myself to get some knitting done this weekend. Even minor progress is progress.

As far as the VR went last weekend, I did make minor progress, but obviously not on the knitting front. I organized the table section of my craft/computer room. Everything got put away (yarn, paper stuff, craft tools, garbage, etc) except all of the power tools, because I have to get into the shed to put them back in their place. However, it's much better already and I'm hoping to finish putting everything away and move the table out of the craft room this weekend.

Let's look at my January goals and where I am, with 6 days left of the month:
  • Sock KAL with the Stash Knit Down Group from Ravelry. My Monkeys are about 70% done. I am on the gusset decrease of sock #2. I would really love to finish these up before the end of the month.
  • One baby item. I still have not decided on a pattern, and found out that almost all my friends are having girl babies, which of course I have no suitable yarn for. I hope they don't mind boy colors! That being said, if I can't decide on anything else, I'm going to try to find some red/orangey wool ease (its the girliest color I have) and make some more baby socks. My biggest issue with baby stuff is that I want it to be washable, and my washable supplies are just not great. This is the reason to reduce the stash!!! Because instead of buying some yarn in girl colors, I feel guilty that I'm not using what I have. Must remember this for future.
  • Felted Christmas trees. Did not touch these. Did not even think about these. Maybe I'll push these out to be a summer project.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Monkeys and a VR

I've been sick for the last two weeks, including a full week long vacation in which I was heavily medicated (on cold meds). Getting sick is never fun, but getting sick always kills my knitting mojo. It's a combination of just feeling tired and low-energy and also being kind of foggy in the brain due to cold medication. As a result, the progress on my Monkeys has been next to nothing. Here is the last WIP picture I took, in the car ride to Oregon.
I actually finished this first sock and CO for sock #2 before leaving Oregon. Since then, all I've managed is to get to the gusset decreases. I signed up for a Virtual Retreat (VR) with one of the Ravelry groups, for this weekend, and I'm going to push myself to finish sock #2. I'm also going to try to finish up a number of projects that have been languishing for too long. Namely the following:
  • Finish sock #2, or at the very least, make decent progress on it. I'm starting to come out of my sickness-funk, so I'm hoping I have a bit of motivation to get through it.
  • Finish felting my silly French Press slippers. These have been through 3 felt cycles and they're still only about 80% done. I need to shrink them another 3 sizes.
  • Wash/block my One Row Handspun scarf that was finished in MARCH OF 2011Ugh. It's literally just sat there waiting for almost two years, and it's gorgeous. Bad!
  • Clean up my craft table in the yarn room. I started papercrafting on it last summer, so there are scraps all over, scissors, glue, etc. On top of that is yarn, as this is also my "processing" table, where I put yarn that is going out or coming in (to be photographed, added to Rav, etc). Lately it has also been serving as a landing pad for all of my power tools as well! So it has random drills and hammers and all kinds of things on it. Ideally, I'd like to move this table out of the room and into the shed, as it severely cramps the space.
I've certainly given myself an ambitious set of goals. Hopefully I can update next week with how much I got done! 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Hello 2013! (And 2012 FOs)

The Husbeast socks, a WIP from my last entry, finished! Sorry for the icky picture, hoping to take a better one once I give them to their new owner! These were made with Wool-Ease (gold) and Bernat Simply Solid (I think?). Wool-ease is always a good thick-sock go-to yarn, but I HATED working with the Bernat in such a small gauge. It was like rubbing plastic together with every stitch, yech.
I also knit a bunch of baby socks, for my friends that are all seemingly pregnant at the same time. These are such a quick knit, I'm planning to do at least two more pairs in January. These were made with Wool-Ease in gold and avocado, just mirrored from each pair.
I also knit my bff a set of Kitten Mittens (mittons!), improvised pattern based on a baby-mitten. This was with Caron Simply Soft, and the end result is pretty awesome. For those that aren't aware of what Kitten Mittens are, I suggest watching this video.
The last few years haven't been great knitting years, in terms of yardage used, but 2012, I'm happy to say was a good one. In 2012 I used 3634 yards of yarn, which is literally more than I used in both 2010 and 2011 combined. It's still a very small amount, compared to some people, and hell, even compared to what I used to knit (2009 was my best year, with nearly 8000 yards knit), but I'm getting back in the swing of things. I want to continue to hammer away at my 2013 goals, but not stress myself out about it. Knitting is a relaxing thing for me, and with a very stressful life and job outside of the knitting world, I need to remind myself that if I don't want to knit after working, it's okay.

That being said, I had a good knitting day yesterday (Happy New Year!) and wanted to share a picture of my current WIP, my first pair of Monkey socks (!!) in KP's Stroll Glimmer (in Potion, which is a true green, but looks very blue in the picture). I am modding the pattern a bit, mainly just to save yarn (trying to get a pair out of a 50g ball). Yesterday I got all the way past the gusset decreases for sock #1, and am very much looking forward to finishing them.