FO Friday – Jury Duty Sucks

I’ve had jury duty this week.  I started the week thinking I enjoyed the process and I was not opposed to being on a jury.  And then, reality set in.  Four days of being called to the courthouse, four days of zero progress, four days of bullshit from lawyers.

Despite the knitting time provided by constant waiting, I’m still rather hostile.  Especially because it’s not over and I have to return on Monday.  UGH.  Not happy.

Instead of focusing on the bullshit that makes me hostile, I’ll focus on the knitting.  I was able to knit an entire bulky brioche cowl, so there’s that.

This is two balls of the yarn that shall not be named, in two different colorways.  I wish I was knitting with something less squeaky and splitty.  Nicer yarn may have improved my attitude.  I wasn’t sure about security though.  Might as well have it be the yarn from the time out corner get confiscated, if that was necessary.  The good news of the week:  courthouse security doesn’t mind knitting!

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Another bright spot:  the colors really look fantastic in brioche!  I didn’t like either of these colorways individually.  The sum of the parts is certainly greater than the whole, in this case.  I’m pleased.

And it was a great way to interact with my fellow hostages jurors.  After day one, people starting coming to check on progress at each break.  It’s interesting to see relationships developing in the gallery.  Crisis really does bring people together.

The cowl is generously sized so it even pulls down over the shoulders.  This yarn really pains me because it’s not bad to wear…how can the process be so horrible but the garment not?   I actually think this is going to get some wear.

There’s my courtroom selfies.  I was trying to avoid being seen by the bailiffs.  They never stopped me from knitting but they were definitely busting people with phones.

While we’re talking FOs from yarn that shall not be named, I finished this scarf a while back.  It’s a ‘shawl in a ball’ yarn and this is the recommended pattern.  An easy garter stitch boomerang.  Again, not a fan of the yarn but the FO doesn’t necessarily reflect that.  That’s just how good I am.  LOL.

And now, time for work.  I’m really happy to be going to work today.  Perspective is everything!  Happy Friday!


 

Mother’s Day FO

Happy Mother’s to all the Mama’s out there!  I sent my own Mother a special Mother’s Day package…complete with knitting, of course!

How many times has someone said to you ‘Can you knit this?’  If you’re like me, it’s hundreds, if not thousands of times.  Without fail, my answer is always ‘yes’.  I can knit anything.  The real questions are not can I but Do I want to?  and Will I?

In a shocking first, I answered Yes to both those questions this time!  It started back in October when I was visiting Mom.  We stopped in to a yarn shop I’d never been too.  It was rather dreadful.  Rather than display merchandise like any other retail shop, the yarn was literally in the plastic bags it was shipping in, thrown on the floor.   In some parts of the shop it was wading through calf deep bags.  WHAT??

Once upon a time, someone must’ve cared about this shop though.  They had lots of sample garments and some of them weren’t on the floor!  Including this one…

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Mom said she liked this one.  I said ‘yeah, I can make that’, snapped this picture and filed it away in the back of my brain, not actually intending to make it.  I don’t particularly like beading, it’s fidgety and I don’t particularly like wearing beads.  They’re like little icicles hiding in your knitting.  Wool is warm to the touch or, at least, not noticeably cold.   So, beads…whatever.

But Mom liked it and she did drive me all the way over to this yarn shop, so I could humor her for a moment.    That was October.

Then February and Stitches West came.  I had a bit of a splurge at Stitches.  Including this yarn…

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I already had these beads in the stash, for some reason, this yarn jumped out and grabbed me.  It’s from Cozy Color Works, a small indie dyer with a little booth way on the outside edge of Stitches.  There was a swatch of this yarn in Feather & Fan that really grabbed me.  I stopped to touch it, it’s beautifully light & lofty!  I had already declared my shopping finished but thinking of my beads was the only justification I needed to buy one more skein.

and so, I set out to knit an homage to the scarf Mom liked.  The first important note: the beads are pre-strung.  No other way to get them to lay on the yarn like that.  It took me a few minutes to figure out an appropriate cast on.  Again, the only way to make it work…Backwards Loop Cast On.  Definitely not my favorite.

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Once I got past that though, I found the pre-strung method of beading to be super easy, far less fiddly than the crochet hook method!  I really enjoyed it!  I did have to be careful with the beads.  Sliding a lot of beads across the yarn can damage it, if you aren’t attentive, especially yarn as airy as this.  Knowing is half the battle and I knew, so it all worked out.

And Mom likes it!  That’s really all that matters!

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That doesn’t mean it’s perfect though.  There is something I would change.

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Look at the way it curls when it’s ‘worn’.  UGH.  I don’t like that.  I blocked it, honest!  I can prove it!

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It’s superwash.  I hate superwash.  This is part of the reason why.  Blocking doesn’t matter.  The fibers are slippery so they don’t really stay in place when blocked.  That stinks.  Sure you can machine wash it, but if you expect to machine wash my handiwork, I’m not likely to give it to you.  Superwash is completely irrelevant to me.

Unfortunately, it’s the majority of what’s available.  I’d be willing to bet 90% (or more) of what was at Stitches was superwash.  I really wish dyers would stop it with the superwash.  I get that it’s easier to dye but still, I really need to show more resolve and stop buying it.

I suppose it’s not all the yarn’s fault here.  (lemme just put my soapbox away)

I think knitting at a tighter gauge could have helped but I was already on a size 3.  The beads are rather heavy, as well.  A non-beaded project will likely be different.  Certainly a different yarn, a cotton/polyamide sort of tape would be better suited to the beads.   So, there’s things that could have been changed.  I could have made different decisions but still, superwash is deserving of such a rant.

Whatever, Mom is happy with it.  The beads and yarn are pretty fabulous together.  Still, knowing I could do better, I also sent Mom a coupon good for one shawl — ‘the pick of the litter’ — when she comes to visit next month!   So stay tuned, I’m going to pull out the shawls for reviews and pictures!  I expect the pile to be quite large!

Friday Photo Dump

Hoooooray for Friday! I’m very excited to get some knitting done this weekend! In the meantime, here’s a random bunch of pictures I took but haven’t shared yet!

First, some yarn my Mom dyed for me recently!  The olivey green is going to become a felted hat with a wide brim.  The color has a lot of depth to it, lots of gold & mustardy tones to it.  Hopefully that’s not lost when it’s felted.

The multi is a special handspun yarn I got in Iceland.  Not sure what to do with it yet.  Something for the torso I think.  It’s the soft part of the Icelandic wool, next to skin softness for sure!


Next, my little Yoda, done he is!

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His friends will be joining him soon.


My latest foray into beading.  The beaded part was lots of fun!  I didn’t even mind the pre-strung business.  It’s tough on the yarn but it’s way less fiddly that stopping to pick up a crochet hook every time you place a bead.  Now it’s just slogging through a regular old scarf.  No bells or whistles to get excited about.  Oh well, that is what I signed on for after all…


And last but not least, the sequence knitting shawl has been getting lots of outdoor love with spring springing so much in the recent weeks!  I’m really looking forward to wearing this one.  If all goes according to plan, I predict I’ll love it!

Hope you all have a beautiful weekend filled with lots of knitting!  Only a couple hours to go, I’m confident I’ll make it…


 

FO Friday – Marled Hitchhiker

My latest Hitchhiker is finished!  Lucky Hitchhiker number 13 for me!

If you aren’t familiar with the Hitchhiker Scarf, you’re missing out!!  It’s the most wearable scarf, that’s easy to knit, perfect for on-the-go and social knitting and, if that’s not enough, it tames even the craziest of rainbow clown barf variegations!  It’s perfect!

I’ve done a lot of variations over the years.  Seed Stitch.  Eyelets.  Eyelets with Beads. Big One.  Little One.  Sparkly One.   This is my first marled Hitchhiker though!

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I’m quite pleased.  The yarn is Anzula’s Haiku.  Instead of an MCN (merino cashmere nylon) blend, it’s an MBN…merino/bamboo/nylon.  It’s soft and warm but hasn’t made me drip sweat yet!  The garter stitch gives the fabric a delightful squish and holding the yarn double only adds to that.  This is all came together so perfectly!

I predict this scarf becomes a staple as Fog Season approaches!


 

WIP Wednesday – March Madness

After February, when I didn’t allow myself new cast ons, in an attempt to finish a few WIPs, the pendulum is now swinging the other way.   There are many new cast ons (and not much finishing!)

Of course, a new sweater.  It’s a hoodie with a cable & lace pattern up the back.  It’s on size 13 needles and I’m following a pattern, so it barely counts!

The yarn is Imperial Yarn’s Bulky 2-Ply Pencil Roving!  I love it.  And it’s green, yes, very excited for this one!  It’s going quickly too!

And then this arrived in the mail…

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It came as kit with yarn to make Yoda and a Stormtrooper.  Needless to say, I’ve got half a Yoda at the moment.  Turns out, he’s got a lot of pieces!  And his ears really define him.  Right now, it looks like a weird little toad.  Fear not…be here soon, Yoda will!

This is another project with amazing yarn.  I’ve been eyeballing it for a long time!  It’s finally on the needles…whoooo-hoo!

This is yarn my Mom dyed for me.  They aren’t my usual colors but it’s just gorgeous.  I really love it so far.  I also appreciate getting free advice from my knitting.  I often need to get my shit together.  It’s a good reminder :)

This is the old WIP that’s getting love this week.

While the northeast is dealing with a blizzard, it’s been nearly 80 degrees and sunny in San Francisco.  While, I normally hate that, it was such a wet winter, even I’ve been able to enjoy a bit of sun.  Thank you Daylight Savings Time!

It seems like very little progress is being made but in reality, I have several large shawls nearly completion!  I’ll just keep plugging away…I’ll get there eventually or at least run out of needles to cast on with.   :)


 

WIP Round Up

It’s been one of those weeks.  Things are slightly out of whack and discombobulated.  I’ll admit, I live on the edge of chaos so it’s only takes a small step to spiral out of control.  This week has been teetering dangerously close to that line.  There’s yarn everywhere, making it virtually impossible to sit at my desk and do anything in an orderly fashion.  Project bags, empty and full, strewn about.  Patterns, books and other assorted scraps of paper have congregated into small piles, I see them conspiring to make even larger piles.

Of course, the physical things are not what’s got the week tilted.  It’s the mental chaos that’s tripping things up.  I had a clear list of what needed to get done on Monday.  It’s Thursday and nothing on the list has changed.

Today, I’m getting it under control.  I cleaned the desk up.  I put the yarn away.  I organized my needles.  It’s time to get the actual projects organized.  A little focus and a nice orderly list are just the thing!

0. The Rhinebeck Sweater.

I’m over it.  It’s been frogged.

Turns out the only thing worse than Second Sock Syndrome is Second Sweater Syndrome.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I’d still love to wear it.  I just don’t want to knit it and life is too short to knit a lace weight sweater and not enjoy it.  Next!

1. Sex, Drugs, Flatt & Scruggs

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Making good progress on this hat.  Although, I’ve realized, too late, I should have stuck will all lower case letters.  I decided to capitalize a few letters.  It’s turned out to be a rather uninformed decision.  The floats in this situation are prohibitively long so I’ve got to mix traditional fair isle technique with duplicate stitch.  I’m not convinced I’ll like it but there’s only one way to find out.

2. Carmen Miranda Hat

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The floral project continues with a California-esque poppy.  It’s a California poppy X black eyed Susan hybrid!  I think something purple next…a pansy or maybe hyacinth!

3.  Planned Pooling

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Despite it all, my oldest WIP has gotten some love in the last week.  It’s still going to take forever but this is one I’m committed to no matter how long it takes.  It’s going to be worth it!  The colors are amazing and it’s going to be nearly 8 feet long…rainbow scarf for days!

4.  Freddy, Jr.

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This is so cute!  One little sleeve left…I can finish this easily.  It’s time to clear it from the queue!

5. Rockefeller

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This poor shawl needs some love.  I’m making excuses to ignore it.  That trend will probably continue a while longer.  Oh well.

6. The Dude Hat

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Seriouslielieeee? Half a hat.  And it’s been in this state for months.  There’s not a single believable excuse in this case.  I’m so close, I’ll try to finish it, I swear.

7.  The Jolly Roger

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It’s neon green.  It’s October.  The pattern is cable and lace skulls.  I got the yarn at Rhinebeck last year.  Rhinebeck 2016 is only a week away.  It’s a no brainer.  Clearly I need to pick this back up!  The only problem…it’s 400 stitches of cables and lace.  Ack!  It makes 400 stitches of lace seem like a day at the beach.  I’m gonna try though!  I really want to be wearing this one while it’s seasonally appropriate!

8.  A Plain Old Stockinette Hat

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And finally, just so I can say this was a true accounting of everything on my needles right now, a plain old stockinette hat.  I started this yesterday at an art lecture as a way to stay interested in an art lecture.  It actually turned out well.  It definitely helped me stay focused on the speaker.  The talk was interesting, a preview of the new Rama Epic exhibit at the Asian Art Museum.  I was going thinking of jazzing this up with a sea creature applique.  Maybe it should Hanuman in honor of the Ramayana!

Because clearly, I have plenty of time between now and Rhinebeck to get this all done!

And now, with all this clarity, I have no excuses!  It’s only taken until Thursday, but I think I’m ready to knit!

A Bind Off Study

Over the weekend, I finished my latest Hitchhiker Scarf.  As the bind off row approached, I was absolutely, 100%, without a doubt certain I would lose this round of yarn chicken.

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There’s just no way that is enough yarn.  I’ve done this enough times that I’m comfortable giving it the eyeball and I’m usually right.  I did what I normally do, ignored all evidence and moved forward.   I knew it was going to end poorly.  I don’t know why I moved forward.  I just did.

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and it worked out okay!?!  I’m still shocked over how much yarn I had left.  It just does not compute!

I used the Icelandic Bind Off here.  It continues to be my Bind Off Of The Year (Or BOOTY for short!)  It got me thinking about bind offs in terms of yardage.  Obviously, if I had used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, I would have used more yarn but I’ve sworn off JSSBO.  I don’t typically need a bind off to stretch, I just don’t want it to be tight.  For me, JSSBO is overkill most of the time.

As I seriously scrutinized this minute detail, it was a good time to pull out my newly acquired copy of Principles of Knitting.  I found it for $3 at a used book sale!  I was pretty stoked, it was the one book I was looking for!  Yippee!

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Turns out, it says nothing about the relative yardages of different bind offs and it doesn’t even mention the bind offs I use most.  (Now I’m wondering what the updated edition says…so much for this reference book answering questions!  LOL!)

With no help there, I decided to simply collect my own data.  I grabbed the nearest yarn & needles.  Worsted weight on a size 4.  I cast on what seemed like a decent amount of stitches, turned out to be 32.  I knit a few rows and then I bound off.  I marked the beginning and end of the bind off, ripped it out and measured.  I repeated this 5 times for each bind off.

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I started with the basic PSSO bind off, that would be the standard by which all others are judged.  I had certain expectations.  Turns out, they were wrong.  Theories are lovely but until they are reduced to practice, they’re only theories!  (apparently my inner scientist really wants to go back to work!)

In addition to the PSSO standard, I also tested the Icelandic Bind Off, the K2Tog tbl Bind Off and the (new to me) SSK Bind off.  I wanted to include JSSBO but I got sick of the experiment before then (and obviously, you’re adding a yarn over between each stitch so, it must use more yardage.  This may, in fact, be the most flawed part of the experiment but we’ll never know.)

I expected the K2Tog tbl and SKK to be the same.  I thought the Icelandic Bind Off would be the biggest yarn hog and the PSSO method would be the most conservative.

The Results:  They’re all exactly the same.  D’oh.  The PSSO Bind Off actually had the highest average, but the differences were insignificant across the board.

And so, when faced with a daunting round of yarn chicken, my go-to bind offs are pretty much identical.  Now I know…knowledge is power!

I feel like sewn bind offs are the next step.   I’m not a fan but It seems like they can accomplish a nice edge with less yardage??  Maybe I’ll suck it up and do a few swatches.  Any excuse to crack open my new Principles of Knitting!