Stitches West 2017

Yay for Stitches!  After missing it last year, I returned this year on a mission!  It was a challenge but I waited until the very last day to attend.  It was perfect for avoiding the crowd!  Sunday means no problems parking, no waiting in line to get in, no waiting in line with the vendors.  Yes, it was perfect.

In three short hours, I managed to shop for this year and make up for last year’s lack of a shopping spree!

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Clearly, I had a color theme.  And I even bought pink???  It seems protest season is upon us and I really need a pussyhat.  There’s Hedgehog Fibers, White Birch, Magpie, Primrose and Western Sky Knits in that pile.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but it’s going to be awesome, whatever it is.

I did go for one neutral…

…and I got two slub skeins of bare yarn.  Only $20 from Anzula…it’s an amazing MCN.  I’m gonna send it to my mom so she can dye it!  I’m sure she can cover those little slubs and it will be a truly amazing MCN!!

I found a few cute accessories too!  I spotted these from across the aisle and knew they were mine!

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And this…

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Now for the hard part…waiting to cast something on.  It’s still Finish it February for two more days.  I finished my sweater!!!  I even wore it to Stitches…more details on that later this week!

And so, for two more days, I can stay true to no extraneous cast ons.

I need time to wind and plan anyhow!  Just winding those pretties is going to be fun!

So, yes, Stitches West 2017 was a success!  I’m plotting for next year already!  :)

 

Work in Progress Wednesday!

Now, with actual progress!!

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Last you saw, I had hastily steeked my sweater, decided I didn’t like it and then cut it into even more pieces!   This weekend I set about to replace the circular yoke that was the deal breaker.

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The plan was to replace the bottom up circular yoke with a top down raglan and graft the pieces together in the middle.  Sounded easy enough, yes?

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As far as design choices, it took me a while but this is what I settled on.  Ultimately, it’s for the best.  I was throwing the kitchen sink at this sweater, at the risk of being too busy.   At least now it’s got one cohesive idea.  There’s still a lot going on with those stripes but less than before, and that’s a good thing!

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Ta-DA!  It looks like a sweater and I didn’t want to take it off once I put it on.  That’s the true sweater test for me.  It finally fits right!!

Now, about that button band…


FO Friday – Fuck Cancer

If there’s one thing I like as much as knitting, it’s profanity.  I just love that four little letters can be so naughty.  The whole thing is just ridiculous.

‘Don’t say that word, it’s unbecoming of a lady’

Fuck that!

The jolt of joy that comes from uttering one little taboo word is more than enough to keep me going back.  I’m like that rat that keeps pressing the button for more food!

Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck

Even as I type that, I’m giggling.  I see nothing wrong with it.  It’s a victimless crime.  I refuse to deny myself the pleasure.

And that’s before the whole cancer thing.

Fuck THAT!

Cancer stinks.  A dear friend, often referred to as a fucker,  (Yes, even my favorite term of endearment towards my friends is profane.  there’s no stopping now.  I’m all in with the F-word.), is undergoing chemo at the moment.  The prognosis is good but still, fuck cancer.

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In reality, I know too many people dealing with cancer at the moment.  There will be more of these in the near future.

Check out my Ravelry page for details!

Pattern:  F*ck Cancer Hat

Yarn:  Knitpicks Chroma


 

An Impulse Steek

The beauty of steeking a sweater is the fast, no-purl cardigan that results.  Unfortunately, ripping & re-knitting slows the process incredibly.  After 3 tries at this circular yoke (and 3 failures), I couldn’t take it anymore.  Maybe cutting my sweater open would improve the fit?  (Ha!  Right!)

Yeah, I kinda knew I wasn’t solving my problem but I went ahead and did it anyhow.  I wanted forward momentum, even if I hit a snag.  Standing still gets nothing done and that’s where I’ve been with this sweater for weeks.

So, before I could stop to think about making a rash decision, I did it.  Reinforcing the steek was easy.  I went with a simple backstitch.  The yarn is Lett-Lopi, the classic Icelandic wool.  Lopi is, quite literally, made for steeking.  Reinforcing the stitches prior to the cut probably isn’t even necessary.  The backstitch, while not the most sturdy reinforcement, is more than enough in this case.

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Also, it’s very fast.  When making impulse decisions, fast execution is imperative.  No need to let logical and rational thought catch up. It only gets in the way.

Before I knew it, my reinforcing stitches were in place and my pullover-cardigan metamorphosis was complete.

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Sadly, my cardigan did not emerge as a beautiful butterfly but rather a lopsided moth.  It’s beautiful in its own way and it could lead a lovely life, for a moth, once it learned how to fly with lopsided wings.

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It doesn’t look too bad in the photo.  It’s got all the pieces we recognize a cardigan to have.  It’s still not quite right in the armpit though.  It’s simultaneously gaping and tight.  It’s not a comfortable sweater.   I’m blaming the circular yoke shaping.  It just doesn’t agree with me.

So, New Plan: save the sleeves & the steeked body, discard the circular yoke portion and replace it with a top down raglan portion, grafting the old pieces onto the new one.  BAM! Perfect cardigan!

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My deconstructed sweater

It’s almost like starting a new project…new cast on, new design choices to make! I predict a smashing success! (I also predict, my next sweater…I’ll just follow a pattern) (maybe) ;)


 

FO Friday – Extra Luxury Edition

Since I accepted my job back in November, I haven’t had time for any custom knitting.  I’ve barely had time for my own knitting.  

And, if that isn’t enough, I’ve imposed a cast on ban for the month, declaring it ‘Finish it February’.  

Sometimes though, an opportunity so luxe comes along that I can’t possibly say no.  A project worthy of breaking all the rules.  

In this case, a rabbit fur cowl paired with a very high end silk and cashmere yarn, from ArtYarns, complete with beads, sequins and maybe even a little lurex! 

While, it helped that it was a small project, the real draw was being able to work with such amazing yarns.  I think this was an extra soft ball of bunny too!  

It was worth the rule breaking! And, really, no harm done…I’m still breaking even in the WIP department.  Cast on and bound off in three days!  Instant gratification win! 

Find more details on my Ravelry page! 

Now, it’s the weekend and I’m ready to knit for real! I have a sweater to finish…Stitches is almost here! A new Stitches sweater would be perfect!  I just need to figure out that pesky neckline! Fingers crossed!  I hope you all have fun weekend knitting planned too! 

Happy Two Year Blogiversary!

It’s that time of year…My Mom’s Birthday and my Blogiversary…conveniently located on the same day so I won’t forget!  Normally this would be a great day for a blog post…I like to knit things for Mom’s Birthday.  Unfortunately, this year things have gotten in the way.

 

I started blogging when I was funemployed, awash with free time.  This year, not so much.  Having been through a series of not even close to ‘real’ jobs, I’m now back to work at a very real job.

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Hello Organic Chemistry!  You’re looking mighty fine today!  Also, like you want some attention, so this will be brief!

Instead of an FO worthy of one’s mother, today, I give you one third of a sock.  I’ve been dutifully carrying it with me, hoping to find time to squeeze in a row or two.  I’ll take it anyway I can get it!  This weekend that meant, knitting during brunch with friends.  Luckily, my friends all understand, the knit must go on.

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Even if it’s sideways.  Eventually, a row here and a row there adds up.  I’m almost to the heel!  This is going to be a traditional gusset sock with a slip stitch heel.

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Eventually.  I’ll keep plugging away.  Slow but steady wins the race!  And eventually, I’ll even get Mom’s Birthday present done.  It’s going to feature all those flowers I knit last fall.

It’s going to be worth the wait!  I promise!  I’ll even have time to orient the photos properly when the time comes!  Until then, it’s tech difficulty and chemistry for me!

Happy Birthday Mom!  Hope you’re having a great day!  I’ll call you when I reunite with my phone!  XOXO!

Needle Review: KnitPicks Foursquare Interchangeable Set

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KnitPicks popped up in my news feed at exactly the right moment with their new square interchangeable blue, green and purple needles.  I could not resist buying them.  Had they been a blonde finish or an orange/red/yellow sunburst color, I would not have even looked twice.  They got me this time though, exactly the right product at just the moment I was having an impulse to buy something!

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So far my only complaint…KnitPicks slow ‘free’ shipping.  I was optimistic that it would be different this time, the warehouse seems to be shipping quicker.  The FedEx SmartPost USPS conglomeration is a cluster fuck though.  UGH!  WHY??  The USPS without FedEx involved actually does a decent job.  Mail service blows but their package handling is much better.  So, I’m annoyed at KnitPicks.  You should do better by your customers, KnitPicks.

These needles are softening me up though!  I’m enjoying them.  They’re laminated birch, which is new to me.  My preference has always been super slick metal needles.

They’re also square, which is really why I bought them.  They’re theoretically better for RSI.  Having suffered from knitting related hand/wrist/arm issues in the past I’m always interested ways to avoid going through that again.

The idea is, a square needle barrel is easier to grip, it doesn’t roll around the way a circular needle can.  That seems logical enough to me to give it a try.

It’s February though, I’m resisting the cast on.  I’m trying really hard to be good and get stuff finished.  I’ve given myself the allowance of a hat or two.  These needles are long barreled.  They don’t come with a 16″ cable.  I’m okay with that.  I prefer a long barrel and I have plenty of 16″ needles for hats already.  Rules is rules, though.  I made my one allowance.  This isn’t the gov’t, I can’t just change the rules on a whim.  No, unlike our current executive branch, I have some standards.  I’m following my completely self-imposed rules, dammit.

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I did come up with a work around though.  One of my beginning knitting students is interested in shawls!  And so in the vein of 5 Shawls, 5 Days or the 5 Basic Shawl Shapes, I’m putting together an Intro to Shawls primer for next week’s class.  Perfect justification!  It’s already finished so no guilt hanging over my head and lots of instant gratification!  I knit 4 shawls this morning!  That is a good morning!  Oh yeah!

One of the big differences between my shawl summary and others…I’ve included a Sequence Knitting inspired triangle (the orange one!)  I love Sequence Knitting.  Once my students give it a try, I think they’ll love it too!

It also gave me an opportunity to try out the different needle sizes.  Each shawl sample is knit from the same yarn (Lett-Lopi, from my trip to Iceland!)  It made for the perfect study of my new needles.  Much to my glee, these needles tighten my gauge up!  A LOT!

I’m an incredibly loose knitter, going down typically 3 needle sizes to get gauge and recently even going down 4 size.  Yikes!  I like slippery metal needles and I like to knit fast.  Loose stitches are the only way to do that.  I happen to like loose fabrics so I’m okay with it.  But it’s not without problems.  Tighter stitches wear better & pill less.  Some patterns require tighter fabrics — socks for instance, or anything knit for warmth.  The wind wastes no time biting through loose fabrics.  There are lots of reasons to knit tighter.

And, so, I’m giving these new needles the FogKnits Seal of Approval!  They’re pretty.  They’re light weight.  I like the cords, just the right balance of flexibility without being floppy.  They’re easy to hold.  The verdict is still out on whether they help with arm aggravation.  I need some more time before I can comment on that but…so far so good.

My last concern:  they screw together.  I’ve always used Addi-Clicks.  I hate the join, it’s awful but I like the click.  You know your needle is secure.  It will not come apart.  I like that security.  The KnitPicks Options come with a little pin for securing the needle to the cable.  I’m not going to use it though.  I’m hoping the square nature of the needle makes hand tightening enough.  I don’t like extra tools, if they can be avoided.  I figure, if I never tool tighten, I’ll never have to use to the tool to loosen them.

Thus far, my decision to blatantly ignore the manufacturer’s instructions has not come back to bite me in the ass.  I’ll let you know that progresses.  I’ve only done small stretches of knitting, lemme get a 450 stitch shawl on one of those cords and see if they still stand up to all that work with just a hand tighten of the screw.

I’m optimistic about the squareness.  I think it’s a real benefit for knitting needles everywhere.  I hope this trend continues!  I’ve always known it’s hip to be square!  :)