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WIP Wednesday*

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*Turns out having a job has nothing to do with knowing what day of the week it is.  I went from having one day a week – always saturday, to having two days a week – workday or weekend – the calendar is still pretty irrelevant.  And work continues to occupy all the best hours of the day so knitting progress is slow.

I did find time to cast on the first hat of 2017 though.  While reading about the history of the bagel! I love the use of Yiddishists here.  What a great word!

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The yarn is cashmere and the pattern is a sequence inspired knit.  This yarn has lovely stitch definition so I knew I wanted to show off a texture.  It’s destined for a man’s head so I didn’t want to go overboard with something lacy.  Sequence knitting is exactly what the occasion calls for!  I cast on whatever amount of stitches (it happened to 114) and my sequence is a multiple of 5 (K3, P2).  It’s perfect for the amount of time I have to knit these days.  I can pick up & put it down with complete disregard of the pattern.  No need to say ‘just let me finish this row’.

I’ve made it through the toe increases of my next sock as well!  Another project that will satisfy my need to process knit for the next few days.

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I love the way the stripes are fading into each other!  The stitches are just so tiny.  I found an easy rhythm with the size 0 needles I used for my last socks so I’m hoping by the time I get to the heel turn I won’t be so fixated on how tiny these 00 needles are.  At this point, every stitch takes a bit of attention.  I’m looking forward to getting to those meditative qualities back.  My sock knitting career might be short lived if I don’t get there.

The countdown to the long weekend is on…I can’t wait!! So. Much. Knitting. Time!!!!

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First Cast On of 2017

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I started the year with chores…end weaving!  UGH!  But I’m so happy it’s done now!  My Building Blocks shawl and My Bad-Ass Bluegrass hat are officially in circulation!  Yippee!!

I tried to keep that momentum going and continue to finish things.  And then I laughed.  January 4th and I still hadn’t cast on anything new for the year?!?!   What better justification for a new project than the new year!  Hooray for rationalization!

Dotted Rays, the third has arrived!

Each of the languishing WIPs has a sticky wicket of some sort, two have colors that need full daylight to distinguish, one requires reading a cable and lace chart.  There are loads of rationalizations here!  I needed some comfort knitting, something I didn’t have to think about.   Time for a new WestKnit!  This is my third Dotted Rays, my second that is scrappy stash busting (because I love weaving ends, obviously?!?)

To minimize the loose ends, I’ve decided, I’m not cutting the yarn at all.  Joining a scrap, working it until it ends and joining the next one.  No new ends created.   We’ll see how long I can stick to that.

I lined my yarns up as close to a gradient as I could.  I think that was ‘Find Your Fade’ envy.  It was pretty but not quite what I wanted.  Instead, I’ve opted to work the scraps in size order.  The wedges grow as the shawl grows, so it’s a logical decision.

With all that in order, things were seeming boring so I had to switch it up, just a little more.  So I’m doing a Doodler mashup.   I’ve substituted the Doodler’s scalloped edge into my Dotted Rays.  It’s a subtle little detail but I’m quite happy with it.   Now to think of something fun to do along the edge…

While I knit and think on that, I cast on my first socks of 2017!  I’m pretty excited about wearing this pair of socks.  It’s the yarn I dyed with my Mom back in October!

 Those colors!!  I can’t wait!  Except I have to…I went down to size 00 for this pair!  Those needles are tiny!!  I didn’t curse, even once, as a cast on.  Not even silently to myself.  It actually went okay??

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And, the sweater, let’s not forget about this monstrosity.  It’s re-emerged from a healthy dose of frogging and trip to the time out corner.  New goal:  Have it ready for steeking next weekend!  Ready, Set…GO!

 

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Happy 2017!

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This post is brought to you by Greenery, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year!  Finally, a color of the year I appreciate!  I wear lots of greens but I especially love a pop of chartreuse so this is perfect for me!  Perhaps you’ve noticed my latest sweater is green…

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I didn’t get it done for NYE but there’s always next week!

Unfortunately, I green is also the color of frogs and I think I’ve got some frogging in my future.  I did the color work around the yoke.  It looks good. deadhead-sweater

That’s a Dancing Bear, of Grateful Dead fame.  It’s a free chart.  But soon after, problems start to arise.  I’m not out of the dark green yarn, which is naturally the color I want to continue with.  It’s okay though, I’ve got plenty of the light green and since it’s now color of the year, I have to use it, don’t I?

I decided to incorporate a honeycomb sort of slip stitch pattern based on this pattern, Retro Lopapeysa.  As an added bonus, it looks a bit like a turtle shell.

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Bears and Terrapins are good friends if you’re a Deadhead.  I didn’t plan it that way, but I’ll totally go with that story.  I’m a fan of happy accidents.  This is a very happy accident.  I’ve been worried about the look being too disjointed, the color block body, the striped sleeves, the stranded yoke.  It’s got a lot going on and it’s definitely teetering on the edge of chaos but it’s working for me.

 

The problem is the fit.  The fit is a hot mess.  Tight at the armpit and gaping in other parts.  It’s so bad I couldn’t even bring myself to take a grainy, poorly lit selfie.  I’m pretty sure I need to rip back to the sleeve join and do some reworking.

Which of course is going to be a problem because last week, I grafted my armpit holes.  D’oh!  That’s what I get for ‘helping’ myself and weaving the ends in early!  Oh well…I’m soldiering on, the slip stitch pattern goes quickly, especially as I decrease.  I’m secretly hoping the fit will improve as I get closer to the neck line.  Maybe I won’t have to rip it out?  (Maybe I’m delusional…stay tuned to find out!)


 

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It’s beginning to look alot like a sweater!

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I hope everyone had a holiday weekend as relaxing and productive as mine!  Not only did I get to enjoy holiday cheer with friends but I’ve got two full sleeves now!!

The fun begins now!  The best part of bottom up sweaters–the work is done!  It’s just an easy ride to up the neckline.  At least, with the rows getting shorter & going quicker, it seems like the work is done!

I completed my join round and promptly tried it on.

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It still looks like pieces but I assure, it’s now joined!

I’ve decided to go with some color work around the yoke.  I tried to start it tonight but discovered I left my contrast color at home.  D’oh!  Fortunately, my evening destination was well lit.  I took advantage of my predicament (seriously, forgot my yarn?!  What am I?  an amateur?  I didn’t even have a back up project.  I knew I should have cast on my second pair of socks already!)

I used my yarnlessness as an opportunity to weave my ends and graft my armpits!  Oh yeah!  And, there’s no knitting classes this week, I might actually have time to finish this for a NYE debut?!?!  That would be so exciting! 40 yoke rows with decreases, a steek and a button band.  hhhmmmm.  maybe.  Just Maybe…..I might be able to get it all done!  (Or maybe I’ll start that pair of socks…)

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FO Friday – SOCKS!

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Work continues to take all the best hours of the day AND they expect me to show up again next week, next month, next year?!?!

Despite that obvious setback, I still managed to get some knitting done this week!   I slipped in one more tiny thing…

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A tiny, vaguely holiday themed cat!  The pattern is Tiny Window Cat, a Ravelry freebie!  The ears, head and body are seamless so it went quickly!

The real news this week though…I finished my socks!!

If I can’t have a Christmas sweater, Christmas socks will do nicely!  It’s been cold here, only San Francisco cold, but still…I’m excited to start wearing them.  I think it’s going to be hard leaving my shoes on my feet.  The urge to show them off is strong!

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I didn’t follow a pattern, just cast on and went with it.  Even though these are my first socks, I’ve taught socks for years.  I’ve knit plenty of booties and slipper socks.  And I’ve been hanging around with hardcore sock knitters for years.  I’ve had plenty of time to study socks without actually knitting them.

I suppose these are my version of a ‘vanilla’ sock.  64 Stitches, Toe Up, Short Row Heel.  I did try two different short row methods.  The left sock is the traditional wrap and turn short row.  The right sock is a modified Japanese short row.  The Japanese short row is by far the winner.  It looks better, there’s virtually no gap at the corner of the heel and it was vastly easier to execute.

Japanese short rows are the variety that employ locking stitch markers instead of wraps. It is a bit goofy looking…

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…but it is incredible effective!  Those locking markers actually save the day!

It’s bad enough picking up a single wrap while knitting from a sock blank.  The needles are tiny.  The yarn is kinky.  The whole thing is weird and fiddly.  Picking up a double wrap, as one does with a sock heel, is virtually impossible with a classic wrap and turn.  It made me kind of crazy.

Enter the Japanese short row and the locking stitch marker, which acts as the perfect little handle!  You just pop that wrap up on to the needle via the marker, remove the marker and knit on.  I loved it.  No fiddling with finding a kinky wrapped stitch, inevitably splitting the yarn and dropping the stitch in the process of fixing the split.

No, it was absolutely worth fiddling with a marker to avoid the aggravation of picking up a double wrap!  I’m not sure I’ll do it again though.  At least not right away.  I plan to test out a whole bunch of different heels.  I’ve got sock blank two queued up and ready to go…

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Yarn my mom & I dyed when I was home for Rhinebeck.  And it’s a sparkle base!  I can’t wait!!  I’m gonna stick with toe up, but probably go for a slip stitch heel this time.  If I’m going to wear these socks to work, they need to be reinforced at the back of the heel.  I’m hard on socks, I want to give them the best chance of survival possible.

To confirm that the sock bug has bitten, I think I’m going to set a pair a month goal for myself in 2017.  I certainly want to own that many pairs of hand knit socks!  Time to make it happen!