Distractions are Distracting.

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I hope you all had a lovely long weekend.  I’m guessing I’m not the only one who had distractions!  0f030c23-6ef4-489d-9f5e-208d50be43de

The beauty of stockinette tubes is their simplicity.  Despite all those weekend distractions, there was still time for stockinette tube knitting.  Three Cheers for Stockinette Tubes!!  My second sock has grown significantly, heel turn #2 is imminent.  I’ll be wearing my own handknit socks in no time!! I can’t wait! and…

…my sweater body has reached completion.  I still haven’t given the sleeves enough thought.  It’s time though.  I’m pleased with my stripes so far but I’m still feeling like the canvas is a bit blank.   I want to do something to spice it up.   Funky asymmetric sleeves?  Fun yoke design?  Certainly not both.  I want to avoid cluttered.  Edit. Edit. Edit.

I’ve been going one step at a time, making little decisions that add up to one sweater.  I’m at the crossroads of cohesiveness now though.  I can’t be so haphazard anymore.  It’s time for proper planning.  I’m getting the colored pencils out.  Wish me luck!

 

Free Pattern Friday: The Dude Hat

Happy Black Friday?!?

Welcome to my Black Friday Boycott!  I’m not buying things today.  I’m not shopping sales.  I’m not looking for deals.  No…I’m giving stuff away!

It’s Free Pattern Friday!  The Dude Edition.

 

If you’ve always wanted to knit a Dude sweater but don’t have the persistence to finish such a grand undertaking, have I got the hat for you!

The Dude Hat by FogKnits

Bring cult classic, The Big Lebowski to your wardrobe this winter with a super soft hat, inspired by The Dude (El Duderino, if you aren’t into the whole brevity thing) himself. Knit from a super soft baby alpaca, this hat is a reproduction of the sweater worn by The Dude in the film.  (If you haven’t seen it, google will tell you all about it!)

Happy Free Pattern Friday!  I hope you get to enjoy a few quiet moments knitting this weekend, and throughout the holiday season.

If you happen to knit this hat, I’d love to hear about it!  I haven’t put it on Ravelry yet but you can browse my individual project pages here and here.  Pattern feedback is always welcome!


 

There’s always a but.

Last we spoke, I was pleased with my progress.  I was patting myself on the back for a job well done (despite my lack of clear vision.)  It was all working out.  Everything was falling into place nicely but…

(there’s always a but…)

Somehow, my swatch and my actual knitting were drastically different, to the tune of 20″ of extra fabric in my sweater.  Apparently denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.  I knit a significant portion of the body before acknowledging that it was huge.

My inner process knitter was so excited to be let loose on a whole sweater of stockinette in the round, I just ignored the fact that I could barely keep my stitches on a 40″ needle.

Until about 2 am, when reality came knocking and I frogged the whole thing.  D’oh!

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Oh well.  I cast right back on and got started.  Nothing else has changed, I just made a really big swatch, that’s all!  Today I’m working on my second green stripe.

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I’m not loving it yet but I’m sure I will soon enough.  It’s just so hard to gauge a whole color block from two little rows.  One thing I am certain of…the wind has picked up a chill, this sweater can’t get here soon enough!

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As always, and in spite of the previous flaws, I’m still pleased with it.  You can see my color change here and I’ve done a bit of waist shaping.  I’m not doing any math (I’d mess it up anyhow.), I’m just sort of eyeballing the last marker and deciding it’s time to do a decrease.  Or not.  I think I’m done with those decreases.

In the seed stitch edge you can see a stockinette stripe, that’s to mark the steek placement.  And you can also see evidence of my short row shaping.

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The hem isn’t uneven because it’s hanging crooked.  I’ve intentionally added extra length to the back of the sweater with a series of short rows.  I love it.  It’s a tiny little bit of personalization.  I don’t want a sweater that rides up in the back.  DONE!  I can check that box!

Still haven’t decided about the sleeves though.  I may even be contemplating some colorwork in the yoke, that might be too much though.  Edit. Edit. Edit.  I don’t have to put all the ideas into one garment.   Sometimes I need to remind myself.


 

A New Sweater

A little less conversation, a little more action.

My new sweater is finally on the needles.

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After considering many options, I did what I always do and failed to make a decision.  It’s one thing to say I want to knit a sweater.  It’s something entirely different to have a pattern and matching yarn in hand and say I want to knit this sweater!  So how did I get stitches on the needle?

I started with the only known variable in this equation…Lopi!  Since my amazing Icelandic adventure, I’ve had a giant stash of Lett Lopi, the traditional Icelandic wool.  I’m a wool person.  I call it rustic (never scratchy).  It’s light weight and warm and it comes in approximately one zillion colors…What’s not to like about that?

Deciding on a color palate was challenging.  So many possibilities.  I made lots of piles, took lots of pictures, did the black and white photo contrast evaluation, lather, rinse, repeat.

Here’s the final decision.

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Mostly.  (I reserve the right to change my mind!)

I couldn’t decide on a traditional Icelandic pattern.  I am going to use the traditional construction method though.  Bottom up, in the round, yoke neck, steeked cardigan.  That still doesn’t get stitches on the needle though.

Gauge swatch.  Easy enough.  A little math later, I had some basic numbers.  It’s still a bit of a blank canvas though.

I really want to do a crazy stripe lopi cardigan but that’s not this one.  This one is going to be more color block than stripe.  It’s still pretty plain though.

It’s gonna be cozy, so how do I up the cozy factor?  Add texture, add length, add a bit of shaping.  I started off with a wide seed stitch band.

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And a beer.  Perfect.

Somehow along the way, I decided short rows needed to happen.  Way off in the future, when I shape the neck but also, here, near the beginning.  It’ll create a bit of extra length in the back and give it a lovely rounded sort of shape.

One at a time, I’m putting all sorts of little details together.

So far, I’m pleased.

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Color change #1 is rapidly approaching.  I really hope I still like it after that!

I’m not worrying about it though.  I’m worrying about the sleeves.  What the heck do I do with them?  One solid color?  Do I match the body?  This is the downfall of bottom up.  The Sleeves need to be ready to go pre-yoke.  I haven’t ruled out the possibility of colorwork in the yoke.  That decision definitely effects the sleeves.  ACK!!  So many more decisions…if only I’d been able to make one single decision (pick a pattern), all this work would be done already.  D’oh!

The allure of my second sock is real, those decisions are all made.  And it’s the weekend, so anything could happen!  Hope you have a good one!  :)


 

One Sock Down

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My craft fair, this weekend, may not have been financially successful but I did manage to finish my first sock blank sock!  I didn’t make it as tall as a store bought sock.  Yay customization!  That’s what knitting is all about…being the boss and making those big decisions!  HA!

I’m already dreaming of the franken-socks I can make with the leftovers.  I used 31 g of yarn for sock one.  If that trend holds, I could potentially make 3 of these socks.  I’m not really hung up on the concept of a pair.  A trio of socks is nice too :)

But first, I’ve gotta finish #2!  I’ve made it as far as the toe increases.  It’s beautiful and foggy out, I might take my sock to the park for some quality knitting time today!

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A couple more craft fair observations.

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(L to R):  Heisenberg, Cupcake, Green Booger, Tree of Life

These were the most touched hats.  The one that surprises me is the Green Booger.  It wasn’t in a prominent place which could be said for the others.  I guess the texture just drew people in.  Everyone who touched things agreed, it was all soft and lovely.  I got lots of compliments on my craftsmanship.

The tag on the Green Booger says $40.  I don’t think that’s an outrageous price.  The Cupcake Hat is $20.  I did think that one had a good chance of finding a home.

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My two most touched shawls, Southern Skies and a Reyna gone wild.

The Reyna was definitely by design, so a confirmation of my instincts was nice.  Blue & gold were the school colors so I made sure to hang it at the front of the booth, right where you’d want to touch it!   The Southern Skies on the other hand was hung in the middle of the rack nestled in with all the other stuff.  I’m guessing the color drew them in, the softness kept their interest (thank you cashmere!) and it enabled nice conversations about the design being an accurate representation of the southern hemisphere’s night sky.  Everyone liked it, no one wanted to spend $400 on it.   There’s lots of nice things I can’t afford either, so I understand.  At least they stopped to admire it.

I’m happy I can knit things like this for myself though :)  Another big change at the next event…being close to home, I’ll be able to promote my classes !  Can’t afford this?  Let me teach you how to make it yourself!  :) More knitters will make the world a better place.  Guaranteed!

Craft Fair Post Mortem

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

…it was my first craft fair.  I made zero sales but learned many valuable lessons.

Mostly, it boils down to this was the wrong event for me.

#1 Wrong Location — It was nearly 80 degrees out, in November.  No one wanted a wool hat on their head.  They actually brought industrial fans in to keep the air circulating.  It was no where near a cold day.  In a town that barely has cold days ever.  Sometimes I forget that microclimates are a thing and not everyone lives in a fog belt.  Ooops, my bad.

#2 Wrong Price — The event was at a public school and frankly, I have private school prices.  I have zero intention of changing that but I can be more in tune with what a particular crowd is after.  One woman actually asked me to clarify for her, did that tag say $10 or $70?  The tag was obvious.  She was just in disbelief that a knit hat could cost that much.  Again, my bad.  If the idea of a $70 hat was that foreign, clearly, I was in the wrong place.  I need to be in high end places.

But it wasn’t all bad.  It was great as practice.  I learned a lot.  As a scientist (and a knitter!), I really learn by doing.  My next event is going to be much better!  I’ve got location and weather working with me on this one!  The Sunset Holiday Mercantile is in Golden Gate Park — Perfect!

I’ll make a few changes as well, I think I’ll lay the table out differently.  I’m going to change up my signs.  ‘Scarves & Shawls’ will become ‘one of a kind hand knit scarves’.  More emphasis on what’s important–why I feel justified in my prices–and dropping the clutter.  I like shawls.  Other knitters like shawls.  I’ll even bet a couple non-knitters like shawls.  Mostly though, shawls confuse people.  Shawls = Grandma, maybe?  They don’t know how to wear them, maybe?   Whatever the case…it’s a just a big scarf, people!  You like big scarves…Really!  My next sign will reflect that.

And some stupid stuff like–skip the camping chair, bring the folding chair with a smaller footprint.  Duh.  Don’t try packing hangers in a box.  That doesn’t work.

I’m optimistic that my next event will be more financially successful.  In the meantime, I think I need to start giving my sweater some serious thought.  And, I’ve got a whole queue of socks I want.  Enough knitting as work, time for more knitting selfishly!  I’m ready!

 

FO Friday – Happy Yellow Hedgehog!

When it rains, it pours!  This has been a crazy week.  Election Day and serving as a pollworker, my next set of knitting classes started, tomorrow is the big craft fair day and I’ve been on the phone with recruiters about a potential job at Genentech.  Woweee!  My head doesn’t even have time to spin, it’s been so busy!   And yet, there’s still time to knit.

There’s always time to knit!  I finished up a last minute hat for the craft fair and adorned it with a couple of cute buttons!  They were total impulse purchase at the craft store a few weeks back.

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I can’t think of a better talisman than a happy yellow hedgehog right now.  He’s got a prickly defense system at the ready but for now, he’s smiling and enjoying the company of a cute little mushroom.

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I’ve been making signs for my booth too.  Hopefully their homemade-ness is endearing and not too childlike.  LOL.  I’m working with what I’ve got, which is a black & white printer and colored pencils.  Also, a glue stick.  I enjoy a good crafternoon, regardless of the outcome.

My Shawls & Scarves sign is my favorite, certainly the most elegant.   I used a bit of grey bamboo yarn to make an icord strap as a hanger for it.   And I think the it’s appropriate to have the Sale sign resemble knitted rainbow clown barf.  LOL.  Perhaps for the next one, I’ll change a few things up to have a more cohesive look.  For now, this is it!

Wish me luck!  I’ll surely update you as to how it went! (The job too…it’s a fast track sort of thing, I could be working in under two weeks, if it all works out!  Crazy!)