FO Friday – Daybreak

Yesterday was a big day here at FogKnits Headquarters.  I got a job!?!  Well, really it sort of fell into my lap and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  I start Wednesday.  That’s so soon!  I’ve only got four more nights to stay up late knitting.  Ack!  I took full advantage last night and finished my Daybreak!

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The applied lace bind off took two weeks!  That’s a new record for my slowest bind off!  I love the effect though!  It was the perfect treatment for this self striping yarn!  I thought the prescribed garter ridge bind off would look a bit too variegated because the rows had gotten so long.  By turning the border sideways I was able to keep the stripes in the yarn looking like stripes instead of distracting blobs!  I can’t wait for it to dry!!    IMG_3995

Otherwise, I followed the pattern as written and I’m very pleased with the results.  The striping yarn is a sock blank my Mom dyed.  My goal was to highlight her awesome colors.  Done and done!  It couldn’t have gone better!

Click Here for Full Details on my Ravelry Page! 

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St. Anthony’s Scarf Drive

Yesterday, I managed to get back in groove!  Getting out the house and away from the distractions of familiarity to knit can be so helpful!  I took my Daybreak and it’s applied lace bind off for a little field trip and it was super successful!  Not only was I able to work through many pattern repeats, I was able to do it without the pattern!  100 Repeats is all it took to commit it to memory!  LOL!  Now, I’m motivated enough to think I can get it done for FO Friday tomorrow!  ha!  Motivated or delusional?  We’ll see tomorrow!

In the meantime, here’s a little project I finished up this week.

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A couple weeks back a friend emailed me.  She had learned to crochet and started a scarf.  Unfortunately, life got in the way.  It was now unfinished in a bag in the back of the closet and the guilt was weighing on her.  Maybe I could do something with it?

I said yes, with no idea what I was getting myself into.  Imagine my surprise to find a recognizable scarf that only needed another row and a half!  I managed to finish it in 30 minutes!  Our gauges don’t really match, our hook sizes definitely didn’t match, I used a different stitch.  Ultimately though, the fuzziness of the yarn hides all that.

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It’s a masculine color and it’s a machine washable acrylic blend making it perfect for St. Anthony’s annual scarf drive.  St. Anthony’s dining room serves ~3000 meals a day to those in need.  Each fall, they reach out to crafters for hat and scarf donations.  At the holiday meal in December, they serve warm hats & scarves, as well as warm meals!  You can find more details on the program here.   They haven’t posted this years information but the only thing that changes each year is the date.  They need donations by mid-December.  3000 Handmade scarves is a lot of work.  I’m definitely going to make a few more before I send this one off!

I’ve got nothing to wear.

I’ve got nothing to wear…at least that’s how it feels.  Ten projects on the needles and I don’t want to knit a single one of them.  UGH!  I did a row on probably 5 of those projects yesterday.  It was dreadful.  I didn’t want to do any of them.  Sheer torture.

Running out of yarn for the project I did want to work on, probably killed some of my motivation.  I ran to the shop it came from to see if I could get more…no luck!  I’ve got a few messages out on Ravelry, so there is hope!  I found dye lot matches even!  Not all is lost, there is hope, chin up and all that.

I couldn’t even get through a full row of my Rhinebeck sweater.  The cat decided to climb out the window when I was 4 stitches from the end of row.  I should consider myself lucky I didn’t drop any stitches as I flung the project down, ran out the front door, tripping over the yarn, to reclaim the cat.  We live on a busy street with three lanes of traffic in one direction and timed lights.  It’s no place for a lazy, old cat.  It’s as near to a freeway as a city street can be.  In the meantime, those four stitches are still sitting, untouched and ready to be worked.  I gave up.  9:15, I called it a day and went to bed.   harumph!

Today, I plan on getting back into the groove.  It can’t possibly be worse than yesterday.  I’ll start slow and ease into things with some work on a hat, then maybe a few Rhinebeck rows and then if I’m feeling it, I’d love to knock that lace out!  Big plans, indeed!


Here’s a link for those interested in Stitch n Pitch!  There are quite a few minor league events still on the schedule for this year!  That’s so great to see!  They’ve also got a section on planning your own local event and submitting it to them for the calendar!  Play Ball!

Stitch n Pitch!

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Last night was the annual Stitch n Pitch game for the SF Giants!  It was simultaneously perfect (the Giants won!  First time in a couple years!) and absolutely dreadful (I ran out of yarn before the game even started?!?!?)!

It was a gorgeous evening!  and we’ve got the best ballpark in MLB, so naturally, the only thing I can complain about is my lack of yarn.

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Before I even got to the game…D’oh!  Unfortunately, this isn’t a case of leaving the other ball at home.  I am out OUT!  I will attempt to find more and get a dye lot match.  I’m not optimistic though.  and things were going so well…

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Turns out my good buddy garter stitch really sucks up the yarn!  It’ll be a shame to frog this but if I don’t get a match, that’s the unavoidable reality.   In the meantime, I’ll console myself by stuffing my new Stitch n Pitch project bag with fun bits of yarn!

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I said I only had one complaint so I’ll just keep my feelings about this cheap plastic made in china off gassing piece of junk to myself.  It’s not like the Giants can afford better, after all. </sarcasm>

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Rhinebeck Sweater: Casting On

After patting myself on the back last week for making so many important decisions, I was finally ready to cast on.  Or so I thought.  Turns out I had a lot more to decide.  Luckily, I got to start with collecting facts…measuring the swatch for gauge!

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I prefer to measure with a ruler when I can.  It’s hard edge has less possibility for error than a flexible tape measure.  This is a trick I picked up from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  If EZ says to do it, I do it.  I’ve got 4.75 sts/inch in stockinette and 8 sts/inch for the cable I liked.  Now what to do with those numbers?

Not knowing how the initial neck dimension should be decided, I consulted the numbers from my favorite sweaters.  It ranged from 9.6 inches to 13 inches.  I took this as good news…a range!  I can work with a range…rather than having to make a steadfast decision, I can massage the numbers a bit if need be.

I have no idea what the textbook design method is for incorporating two different gauges, I just took a guess.  I started with the cables, those numbers can’t change. I’m putting my cables at the raglan increases–4 raglan increases means 4 cables.  Each cable section is ~1 in and 8 stitches.  8×4=32 stitches for my cables.   It also means 4 inches of my neckline.  I arbitrarily decided to aim for a 10 in cast on.  10 – 4 = 6 inches I still have to account for.  My stockinette gauge 4.75 x 6 = 28.5.  I made the executive decision to round down, 28 + 32 from the cables = 60 sts.  That’s a nice round number.

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I’m especially pleased that I remembered to do a provisional cast on!  The hoodie/neckband decision will wait until later!  Placing the markers in the right spots was a bit trickier.  I needed to decide how to divide for fronts, sleeves and back.  Even with a pattern to follow, this part can take me two tries.  I started with the easy parts…I knew I wanted 5 stitches for the button band (which is really a zipper band in this case).  5 Stitches is ~1 inch and it’s an odd number which is preferable for seed stitch.

The rest of the decision making process is a bit fuzzy.  I just kept working backwards from what I knew I wanted…I wanted the sleeves alone, meaning I put two of the cables on the back and then one on each front.  Each front now has 13 stitches, 5 seed and 8 cable.  The back has 16 sts so far, 8 from each cable.  That leaves 18 stitches unassigned so far.  I like even numbers so I picked 4 stitches for each sleeve.  It was a bit arbitrary, 2 seemed too few and 6 too many.  6 Stitches per sleeve would leave only 6 more stitches for the back.  I thought the back should be larger.  The final breakdown –13 sts in each front, 4 sts in each sleeve and 26 sts for the back.

These numbers disagree with EPS–Elizabeth’s Percentage System.  Another piece of wisdom from EZ–the front and back of a sweater should each be 35%, each sleeve should be 15%.  This isn’t a pullover though, so that changes things…at least in my mind.

So, I place my markers…now it’s time to start increasing.  I decided to do YO increases (because I’m lazy).  I’m justifying it by saying those little holes will provide me some ventilation.  I’m never actually cold enough to wear wool!  I decided I wanted my fronts to increase at the zipper band with M1L/M1R, I didn’t want holes there…so off I went.

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Just like that, I’ve run into my first problem!  The YOs before the raglan cable are a different size than the YOs after the raglan cable.  In the first couple rows, I’ve messed around a bit doing shorter YOs selectively.  I think I’ve got it dialed in.  Now it’s just knit along to the sleeve divide!  Fingers crossed that it’s really that easy!  It should be…I think most of the decisions have been made, finally!

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NO FO

I’m not even close to finishing my applied lace bind off, barely a third is finished.  No FO today!  Instead, I give you all of the UFOs!  All 10 of them!  The pile is actually less impressive than I expected!  I don’t know what I thought was going to happen when it all got lumped into a big pile!  LOL!

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From left to right there’s…

Daybreak, a planned pooling scarf, the beginning of my Rhinebeck Sweater, my soon to be modified Exploration Station, my Striped Dotted Rays, a Dude hat, an R2-D2 hat, a cassette tape hat, a nearly finished Colonnade and last but not least, a stripey neon yarn bomb! 

I’d better get cracking!  I fully intend to finish every single one of these projects in the near future!

Rhinebeck Sweater: The First of Many

You can’t finish, if you don’t start.  With that in mind, I finally forced myself to swatch officially for my Rhinebeck Sweater.  I’d done a preliminary swatch to decide needle size.  It took me a couple weeks to do a real gauge swatch though.  I was a paralyzed by the sheer volume of options available to me!  So many decisions to be made!  Hopefully, you’ll find the decision making process interesting over the next few months because I expect there will be many, many Rhinebeck Sweater posts!

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Rather than focus on the crushing weight of one million knitting decisions, I’m thinking about what I have decided.  The yarn–Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein in colorway Bruin!  Who doesn’t love Miss Babs?!?  I’ve had this yarn in my stash for quite a few years, it’s waited long enough!  The needles–US Size 5.  Those were the easy decisions.

The crushing weight of one million knitting decisions is now upon me.  I’ll just change a pattern anyhow, so I’m not gonna bother.  I’m going straight to designing it myself.  I definitely want a zip up, raglan, cardigan with long sleeves.  Everything else is just an option.  The top options right now are cables, pockets and a hoodie.

I played around with the swatch to test a few things out.  Seed stitch won the edge decision easily.  For a quick minute I contemplated texture instead of cables, the seed stitch had me tempted.  Then I remembered how much work that would be so another decision made…my Rhinebeck Sweater is going to have a stockinette body.

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The cable decision is one that’s been difficult to decide.  I’m a lazy knitter.  I will not be doing a heavily cabled sweater.  It’s partially a fashion decision, as well.  The classic aran look adds bulk and I’ve got enough of my own bulk, no need for my sweater to graciously gift me with more!   Taking these decisions one at a time, I’m slowly narrowing myself into the right decision.

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My swatch cables started on a bed of stockinette, a lazy knitter loves all knit rows!  It’s pretty clear why cables are done on bed of reverse stockinette though.  The stitch definition is lovely!  I played around with the height and width of the cables.  To my surprise, I prefer the wider cable on the left.  That’s a 3 over 3 left cable.  The middle and right cables are 2 over 2, one in each direction.   If I wanted a pair of cables, I like the look of a right and left together, but I think I want just one cable.

Now, where to put my cables.  This is the truly crushing decision, the one that’s had me paralyzed.  I think I’ve decided to go with the less is more philosophy.  I really like the idea of a cable running down the sleeve.  I sort of like the idea of a cable running down the raglan line.  I really want to like the idea of a cable running down the cardigan openings.

Less is more.

I think the front cables are out of the running.  The fact that I can’t make a decision is the decision.  If it were right, I’d have figured it out by now.   Sleeve cables and raglan cables…hhhmmm.  Almost.  I contemplated this pairing for a while.  It’s gonna be a bit top heavy though.  Sleeves alone would be a little misplaced.  Along the raglan line only??  hhhmmm.   I think maybe this is the direction I’m leaning.

Phew!  Finally some progress!  I think I’ll do a provisional cast on, I can decide the hoodie issue later.  Maybe it’ll depend on how much yarn I’ve got left, I should have plenty though.  Maybe I need a little decorative something on the back?  Patch pockets or inset pockets?  Vertical or horizontal?  aaacccck!  Still a lot of deciding to be done.  But so far, I think I’m on the right track!

Only 84 knitting days left until Rhinebeck!!

Back in the Comfort Zone

As lovely as yesterday’s lace is and as exciting as binding off is, I’m pretty stoked about being back in my comfort zone today…aka short row garter stitch!  I’m not even that upset about the yellow?!?

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So far, this is Exploration Station.  I’m nearing the point of divergence though.  This shawl was originally a MKAL, this portion is Clue 1, six garter wedges.  The other clues continued with a variety of stitches and textures.

My Exploration Station knit as the clues were released
My Exploration Station knit as the clues were released. The next sections are brioche stitch, slipped stitches, garter stitch and a chevron lace stitch for the border.

It was a lot of fun to knit as a mystery!  Especially because so many of my local friends were knitting it at the same time!   That is, of course, until we got to clue 2–Brioche Stitch.  The collective groan was not unjustified.  Brioche can be uncooperative.  One friend even started referring to it as the Stephen King KAL instead of the Stephen West KAL.  I’m still laughing at that!

That was the genesis of this shawl…can’t we just do the fun clue on repeat and avoid the brioche nightmare??  Well, yes!  Yes, we can!  I’ll be finished with the official clue 1 today.  Then it’ll be time to put my money where my mouth is…wedges 7, 8 and 9 just follow the pattern we’ve already established.  Should be a no-brainer!  Fingers crossed!

I’m Knitting Lace?!?!

I finished the striping section of my Daybreak!  It was smooth sailing into the border and bind off until…(it’s always something, eh?)

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Until, I decided that my self-striping yarn was not appropriate for the garter ridge edge.  The long rows (~600 sts) mean my colors appear more variegated than striped.  It could be distracting and messy and I didn’t knit all this way with yarn my Mom dyed for me to have a distracting mess on my hands!  No big deal though, I’ll just change the border.  I didn’t want to knit 15 more rows of 600 stitches anyhow.  I was ready to be done!  I-cord bind off was the answer!  It would match the body and have a nice slow color change along the edge.  Perfect!  Off I went…(until)…

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Until, the i-cord bind off started to curl.  No bueno.  I have a shawl that I love, except for it’s curly i-cord edge that doesn’t lay flat and won’t block out because it’s superwash.  The exact situation I have here.  Two superwash yarns.  Drat!  Now what??  A sideways border bind off??  But that would be many, many rows of work and all that turning can be fiddly.  Meh.  Garter Stitch seemed too plain and I don’t knit lace, don’t even suggest it.  Officially out of options.  Double Drat!  I guess I could work the original border in my solid color, I think I could get another skein.  I didn’t really like that option either.   And then this happened…

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It must’ve been an out of body experience because I don’t knit lace??  How did that even happen?  In a last ditch effort to get out of doing an applied lace border, I test blocked a little bit, convinced that it would probably be horrible and I’d have to find yet another solution to this problem…Until…

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…Until it came off the blocking board looking awesome!!  So apparently, I do knit lace and will be knitting lace for the foreseeable future.  It’s only 1000 rows to get this sucker bound off.  I can’t say no to beauty like this but I can complain about it!  The whole time! Seriousleeee?  Who am I?  I wanted to knit socks on Friday, today I’m knitting lace?!??  Tomorrow I’ll probably decide to knit a brioche dress at the rate I’m going…

FO Friday – Someone Else’s FOs!

I imagine every knitter out there has knit a gift at some point.  On the other hand, how many knitters receive knit gifts?  Not nearly as many.  Every year, my knitting group throws a little anniversary party celebrating the group’s beginning.  A few years back we started picking names out of a hat and knitting each other anniversary gifts!  It’s not a party without presents!  Turns out, I love getting knit gifts as much as giving them!  Handmade gifts of any sort really but I have an extra special place in my heart for knit gifts!

It’s a lot of fun every year, trying to guess who’s picked who, stalking each other’s Ravelry queues and favorites to pick the perfect gift, trying to consult with a third person to get opinions on colors or patterns without getting caught.  The truly brazen bring their gift swap to knitting night and play it off as a gift being knit for Great Aunt Jean.  I actually blogged about my gift knitting, saying it was for me.  (I totally wish it was…)

The party has now come and gone, and all that secret knitting was totally worth it.  I have color preferences, fiber preferences, knitting technique preferences… it’s refreshing to see how other’s interpret those preferences.  I have to say, my gift knitter, Vanessa, totally nailed my style and knit items I love but would not have knit for myself.  This is actually the second time she’s knit for me.  The first time was also a smashing success.  She’s set the bar exceedingly high for anyone who ever knits for me in the future.  So this FO Friday I’m featuring Vanessa’s FOs!

First up…Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow!

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My very first pair of handknit socks in White Birch Fiber Arts ‘Nothing Says Screw You Like a Rainbow’ colorway!  I wasn’t at the first day of Stitches this year but I received 4 messages from different people when they hit the White Birch Fiber Arts booth saying ‘Wow, you need this yarn’…well, everyone needed this yarn so it was sold out by the time I got there and my yarn money was ear marked for Brooklyn Tweed, anyhow.  I think I’m the only one from the knitting group who didn’t buy this yarn…we’ve seen arm warmers and 3 or 4 pairs of socks so far.  I love them all, we all do!  How much we love them seems to be a constant conversation! Just as the party was starting this week, I actually declared that I finally decided I like the rainbow with blue clouds better than the fade to black colorway with rainbows and black stripes but if they’re at Rhinebeck, I’ll probably get one of each because I think I really need to knit myself a pair of these awesome rainbow socks!

And then Vanessa showed up!  Boom!  Done!

These socks are pretty awesome, I’m torn between wanting to never take them off and never putting them back on for fear of tarnishing them.  They radiate good vibes!  I’ve got the happiest feet in the zip code. Probably even the area code.  I don’t know how I’ll ever put store bought socks on again?!?  Hand knit socks are a luxury I’ve been missing out on completely.

As if that wasn’t enough, I got something else too!  Vanessa the Amazing also knit a Traveling Woman scarf for me!  She picked the yarn based on the name again…Shenanigans!  If there’s shenanigans, I’m gonna call you on it.  Be warned.  I have an eagle eye for shenanigans.

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Deadlines being what they are, I ended up blocking the scarf myself.  It turned out to be the easiest blocking and fastest trying project ever!  My apartment is tiny.  Blocking boards hanging around for 3 or 4 days is a big inconvenience.  This project was dry in less than 16 hours!

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I think the yarn played a big part in that, Lorna’s Laces Solemate.  Solemate, literally, has space-aged polymers in it!  Yeah Science!  It’s 55% Merino, 15% Nylon…standard sock stuff.  The last 30% is Outlast, a fiber with heat regulating and moisture wicking properties!  It’s been used in space suits and nascar suits and now…hand knits!  It’s super fun to talk about but this is the first I’ve ‘worked’ with it.  I really love the results!  There may be a sock knitter in me after all.

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Before I start knitting socks though, I really need to make a decision about my Rhinebeck Sweater.  I thought I had decided to use the purple on the right, it’s a bulky weight so it would go quick but I have to call Shenanigans! because it just doesn’t match my new Traveling Woman…the brown on the left however, looks quite lovely.  I think it’s time to get serious about swatching.