May 22, 2013

Lights, Please

Back in January of this year, I went to Vogue Knitting Live in New York City and purchased this yarn from Annie's Attic:

It's label was covered up, but I peeled it back and it was Artyarns Ultramerino 4, 191 yards each.  I thought it was a sage color, but after I got it home, it looked like a clay (gray) color.  The yarn has no sheen it isn't very interesting at all.

When I unwound the skein, I still couldn't tell what color it is.  I can see green and brown, but what looks like blue is actually light green, I think.  It doesn't matter now because in all my years of buying yarn, I have rarely come across a yarn I didn't love, and I still plan to make the best of it.

There is one thing I know for sure, it's turning out to be a pretty good looking Ashton Shawlette:

I cast on last night and I'm up to the second of three charts, the third repeat of five for chart 2, and it's going pretty good.  The shawl is so pretty, it deserves a better yarn and maybe one day I'll make it again with something I adore.  The next time I pick up yarn from a box on the floor in a dimly lit area, I'll try to bring the yarn to a better light source.  It's just that the price was so right.

Anyway ...

The weather here in New York has suddenly changed from dead of winter to height of summer, so a shawl at this point is about as useful as sunglasses in a movie theater.

I'm feeling inspired to stash down.  I'm in charge of the yarn destash, the Tour de Fleece will take care of my fiber issues.

Did I mention that the Tour was coming up in 46 days?  I think I did. It starts on June 29th.  Yay!
I have to spin up some of my processed fiber so I can make room for the raw fiber that I plan to buy this year.  Woo hoo!

Let me stop now before I start a whole new blog post!

May 21, 2013

Brainy Lounging Socks

A while back my friend Sojourn Knitter gifted me some yarn from Sauveterre Design.  It is lusciously soft, pretty and marvelous to work with.  The base is Estelle, 100% Italian cashmere in the crocus colorway:

I wanted to make socks, and I chose the Brainless pattern because I fell in love with the fancy gusset:

The pattern was problematic because it wasn't very well written and I'm not a very good follower of instructions when it comes to socks.  I think I know everything about making them, until I met these socks.  The truth is, if I knew everything there is to know about making socks, I wouldn't need a pattern, now would I?   I'd be able to just look at the socks and know what to do, if that was the case.

You have to know everything about making socks before tackling these.

The first sock was started in November 2012 and the second sock was finished today.  That says a lot.  I could go into detail about why these socks were a problem to knit, or I could just show you the finished project:

Lovely!  I love them dearly.  The fact that they are cashmere means they will be lounging socks because cashmere has a tendency to felt and pill, but it is so worth it for the beauty and the softness of them.

Now I can go on to my next project which is in this lovely bag from Maria Elena Bliss on Etsy:

I love my little sheep!  And inside is a project that I'm not working on - I just wanted to see the bag full and to let you see the inside of it:

There's 10 skeins of yarn in there!  That's one large and very pretty bag.  Maria Elena makes quality bags - honestly.  If you don't have one, maybe it's time to get one.

Now that the socks are done and I am able to reclaim my kacha, maybe I should go find some other UFOs, finish them and reclaim some needles.

Lastly, this is the month of May, as you well know.  I will be participating in a spin along (SAL) with Diane of Knitabulls in preparation for ...

The Tour de Fleece!  Yep - woo hoo!  The more I spin, the more room I have for the fleece and fiber I plan to buy this year.  I'd tell you my goal for the Tour, but then I'd have to stick with it and I would feel bad when I don't make it.  Suffice it to say, there's going to be a spinning frenzy come July!  Yay!

OK, I'm calm now.

May 12, 2013


There are a few things in life that really tickle me.  One of those things is when a knitting project turns into an FO (finished object).  There's just something about wearing the FO, or gifting it, that just makes me giggle.  As a process knitter, I love reclaiming my needles and look forward to the next project.

My FO today is a pair of the Jaywalker socks:

Surprisingly, they match almost perfectly from cuff to toe.  There's a slight difference in the toe:

No one is ever going to see the toes though so I don't care, but I was darned close!  These socks were made with Knit Picks Felici in the rainbow colorway, and the heel is made with Lion Brand sock yarn.  The only reason I made the heels white is because I don't like crazy heels and I didn't want to ruin the line of my stripes.

Now that those are done, I have a dilemma.  Do I participate in all of the sweater KALs that are going on, or do I figure out what to do with the yarn below?  The skein on the left is some mystery handspun and the right is Creatively Dyed yarn:

Or what to do with this, the left is Creatively Dyed and the right is Madelinetosh:

I need a minute to think about it, but I'll think of something.  Maybe I'll finish one of my UFOs while I scan for my next project from the millions of freebie patterns online.

In the meantime, I'm still Remembering Remy with some preemie hats done by Maria of the knitting circle:

I'm still making them, but I have only 3 on hand, all made from leftover sock yarn.  This is the latest hat:

Too cute!  If you are inclined to make preemie hats for the cause, head on over to Knitting Brooklyn on Ravelry and post pictures of your donation(s).  Every 10 hats enters you in the pool to win some great prizes, courtesy of Tracey (TBMcCarthy) and Jessica (JPeled).

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

May 05, 2013

KAL (Knit Along)

I don't normally participate in KALs because I either don't have the materials for it, or the item is one of  the 'mystery' variety where they give clues and I don't know until I'm halfway done that it isn't an item I would ever make or wear.  However, lately I've been reading and hearing about KALs that urge you to 'make whatever you want' using a particular yarn or color.

The latest is from podcaster The Fat Squirrel Speaks (Amy Beth) who is hosting a KAL or a SAL (spin along) where the only requirement is that I use the color orange.  I did a little stash dive and guess what?  I have no orange yarn.  How's that?  I thought I had every color.  I found some orange-y fiber, mixed with other colors, but would it still be orange after it was plied.  I can't guarantee that and it looks like almost everyone else knitting with sweater's worth of orange yarn.

What I found was this Affection Set which is three skeins of yarn rolled all together into one skein, purchased at The Yarn Company:

I was going to make the Color Affection Shawl with it, but with 1200 yards of fiber I wondered how long it would take me to make the shawl and if I'd have enough time.  Still, the colors are so pretty:

Do I dare start this shawl with the fear that I won't finish in time?  I felt I had no choice.

But then, while I was looking for something else, I came across this yarn (get your sunglasses out!):

Knit Picks Felici in Rainbow.  Wow!  Does yarn get any brighter than that?  It was my intention to make a little girl sundress with it, but I need it for the KAL.

Last night I cast on the Jaywalker socks:

I need sunglasses to make them, but it fulfills the orange requirement so I'm so happy!

I'm also thrilled that Patrick's socks are finally done:

And so is the Plucky Knitter yarn I used to make them.  Sweet!  I made the socks with a skein of One Hit Wonder which had no fiber content, no yardage and no colorway, using a US #1 needle and made socks for a foot size 11 1/2/  That was a lot of knitting!

As soon as the Jaywalkers are done, I'm going back to the French Cancan - no doubt.  I will not make the Color Affection until the Cancan is done.

Unless another stash busting KAL comes along ...

May 02, 2013

Notice Anything?

My blog has a new look courtesy of Beck of Gusler Design who put together my new ball band and logo and I couldn't be happier.  Thank you again Beck.  You did a great job quickly and perfectly.

Now on to knitting.

Patrick is a co-worker and he wants a pair of handknit socks.  Making socks for co-workers is like falling into a rabbit hole.  There's 26 people in the group and I know I'm not going to make everyone a pair of socks, but I made an exception for Patrick.

Since Patrick doesn't wear the same size socks as me, and because he's not around to try the sock on, I had to improvise - like I always do when I'm making socks for someone else.

I had Patrick trace his right foot (while standing) onto a piece of paper:

In my stash is some Plucky Knitter One Hit Wonder in an unnamed colorway with no yardage, and got my US #1 needles.  It looked like sock yarn, it feels like it, and surely it is enough yarn to make socks.  His shoe size is 11 1/2 and the widest part of his foot is 4".  I bet he doesn't know that.

I found a pattern that is top down and stretchy, but not too much since he has kind of skinny ankles.  I used US #1 needles and cast on 72 stitches (I don't want him wearing sock girdles after all) and followed the pattern called Tracks (Ravelry).  I got past the cuff, the 7" of leg and the heel flap.  Now I'm onto the foot and Patrick is not here to try on the sock, so now what?

Well, the sock has to fit snug, but I don't want the sock so short he has to fold his toes in half to wear them.  Too short and the width of the sock will decrease, and I don't want that either.

So, I took my needle and stuck it through the smallest part of the sock:

and held it against the heel of the paper, then laid the sock flat on the same paper.  (Sorry about the picture quality, apparently my camera decides when and how much it wants to work.)

I then flattened the sock out on the paper and guessed where his big toe meets his foot and gave a little tug - not too much though.  (I was unable to show you the tug because that would require the use of three hands and I only have two.)

And after about 64 rows of the knitting even, I was ready to start the toe decreases.  When that was done, the sock fit the picture and I had Patrick try it on.

It is a perfect fit.  Whew!  Thank goodness.

So, with the row counts in place, the second sock is a breeze to knit and I'm almost done.  Yay!

The heel is turned and I'm halfway on the foot.  With a little 'power knitting' I should be done with these socks tonight, at the least by tomorrow during my commute to work - if I get a seat.

And when these socks are done, maybe I'll finish my Hoaloha, or the French Cancan or maybe I'll dig up Cora or the Marin scarf.  With all those UFOs to choose from, would it be wrong to cast on something else?