No Finish Friday

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Didn’t manage to finish anything but at least, I made progress.  Nephew sweater now has two sleeves!  Only the front bands are left.  That’s not too much.  I’m aiming to have it in the mail Monday.  I can make that happen.

Then it’ll be time for Vogue Knitting Live homework.  I’m taking Franklin Habits Zipper & Steek class.  Both techniques I’m comfortable doing but I’m always happy to add polish.  That’s always my goal with classes, little finishing tips that elevate a garment.  I suspect Franklin is great for that stuff.  He seems like an attention to detail guy.  I’m looking forward to everything he has to say.  My expectations are high.  I have a feeling Franklin is an exceeds expectations kinda guy!

 

With that in mind, let’s talk about sock details!  I’m not a sock knitter so when our yearly knitting group swap rolls around, socks are the obvious answer.  This year I got another pair of fun rainbow socks.

The interesting detail here is the Fleegle Heel.  It’s a short row heel, touted for leaving no holes.  It results in a little triangle shape at the back of the heel, where a heel flap would normally be rectangular.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the package was how long these socks were.  No one wants to criticize a gift before it’s out of the box but they were clearly too long for my feet.  I said something like ‘huh, is my foot really this big?’  To which the response was, ‘um, yes.  you said it yourself’   Ok, let’s give it a try.  To my surprise (and relief), they fit perfect.

I don’t know how to describe the most comfortable sock in the world.  Until I put these socks on, I didn’t realize other socks were even lacking.  This is the most comfortable heel I’ve ever worn.  I’ve never felt like a heel flap was uncomfortable but somehow this heel shape, contours my foot perfectly.  I could tell instantly.  It’s amazing.

So, all you sock knitters out there, I highly recommend trying out the Fleegle Heel.  I’m a convert!  If I ever tackle another pair of socks, I’ll give it a go!

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!


 

WIP Wednesday

 

This week’s work-in-progress is a baby!!  I have recently learned, I am an aunt-to-be!

Not being one for suspense, my sister has dispensed with the waiting.  She’s announced, already, it’s a boy!  His name is Marcus.  We can expect him in July!

Naturally, the first thing I did was cast on a little pair of socks.

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Wee little baby socks are so fun to knit and I had just the right yarn.  Cascade Fixation, 98.3% cotton, 1.7% spandex.  The most amazing yarn blend ever.  The amount of stretch that can be introduced into cotton with less than 2% spandex is phenomenal!  Perfect for baby stuff.  And cotton…exactly what a summer baby needs!

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These little socks are the definition of instant gratification knitting!  Done in under 24 hours.  The pattern came from the wayback machine, you can find it here!  Super easy, top down with a heel flap.

Now, with baby’s first knitwear out of the way, I can start planning all the fun stuff.  Goes without saying, I’ll definitely be buying yarn again this year!  (I’ll take any excuse I can get.)

I’ve got so many thoughts.

I’m actually anti-baby blanket.  It’s a lot of boring repetitive work.  You get so much more bang for your knitting buck with a sweater.   But, I only have one sister and she’s only having one baby (they checked…it’s not twins!), so I’ll definitely be making a blanket exception here.  One with a pocket for a stuffie friend, I think.

Then, I’ll have to knit the stuffie friend.  And, of course, a sweater with another pocket for the stuffie friend.   and the stuffie friend might need a friend.  You see where this is going, yes?  It’s just going to keep snowballing.

And that’s before we even get to the whole Auntie Em thing.  Flying monkeys definitely need to happen.  I’m thinking about combining the ‘quiet book’ idea with a knit block in the Wizard of Oz theme.    I want to knit a house, with ruby slippers sticking out from under it.  Each side of the house, will have a little activity, like a quiet book.  The front door might open with a zipper.  Maybe the side of the house will have windows that attach with buttons.  Snaps are another idea.  More pockets to stuff things in.  Maybe an abacus sort of thing with beads that slide around.

Baby’s first ugly christmas sweater?  A baby gramps sweater…complete with elbow patches.  So many fun hats…animal hats and dinosaur hats.  Photo prop diaper covers.  Loveys with stuffie heads.  Yes, I want to knit all the baby things.  All of them!  ALL OF THEM!!!


 

The cutest socks!

Now for the second half of the knitters knitting for knitters part of the swap!  The gift I was given!  In a perfect twist of fate, the knitter who chose me was the knitter I chose!

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I got kitty socks!  They’re the YinYang Kitty Ankle Socks, a free pattern on Ravelry!

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Without a doubt, the absolute best way to get hand knit socks is as a gift!  I have half a sock I haven’t touched since January.  Knitting them myself is certainly not the fastest option!  And these were even in my queue!

They’re the cutest little kitties!  I’ve been wearing as house socks.  I’d feel bad cramming them into shoes.  This is cuteness that needs to be shown off!

Thank you, Branka!  They’re awesome and I love them!

The last bit of awesomeness from our party…the cake!

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It didn’t come from a store!  One of the knitter’s made it!!!  It’s chocolate on the inside and there aren’t enough superlatives to describe it.   It was delicious! My favorite part, though, is the care that went into the swatch.  Those stitches look like stitches.  They’re all pointing the right direction.  They’re all in rows and columns just like they should be.  There are four stitches in the swatch and correspondingly, four stitches on the needle.  The ball of yarn is attached to the swatch, in the right place no less.  All little details non-knitters don’t know about.

And now, it’s almost the weekend!  Wooohooo! I’m fading away on my Faded, Speckled, Dotted Rays for the Westknits’ Summer Fadealong!

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Color 4 is fading in.  It’s more Hedgehog Fibers.  I started off with Skinny Singles as the first color.  The last two colors have been Hedgehog Sock.  I don’t like the Sock as much as the Skinny Singles.   Of course, the Western Sky Knits MCN in the middle puts all the others to shame.  A little bit of cashmere really goes a long way!

My next color will have cashmere, an MCN from Magpie Fibers!!  Not sure I’ll get there this weekend.  I’ve gotten to the place where the rows are looooooooooooong.  I’m going to try though!

Hope you’ve got some fun weekend plans!  Happy Knitting!


 

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!

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!!!!

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!

 

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!